NMSU Women's Basketball Downs Chicago State 74-59 Behind 33 Points From Brooke Salas

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s basketball team opened Western Athletic Conference play against Chicago State on Saturday afternoon in the Pan American Center. Despite trailing after 20 minutes, the Aggies came out and dominated in the second half, led by Brooke Salas, en route to a 74-59 victory over the Cougars.

Following a win in the conference opener head coach Brooke Atkinson said, “Any time you can get a win it is huge. We look to approach every game the same way and the team played with a lot of perseverance and battled back which is what I am really proud of after this one.”

The contest opened with each team trading baskets over the first seven minutes. Then when NM State (7-8, 1-0 WAC) trailed Chicago State (0-16, 0-0 WAC) by one, Zaire Williams made an emphatic block at the three point line to invigorate the Aggies. Jasmine Cooper proceeded to hit the next shot to put NM State up as they ended the first quarter ahead 17-15.

To begin the second quarter the Aggies struck first with a Tonishia Childress bucket from the line. The Cougars then responded with a 10-0 run to put the Aggies behind 25-18 before Atkinson called a timeout with 5:57 left in the first half. NM State was only able to outscore Chicago State by two following the stoppage to close out the second quarter behind 32-27.

After 20 minutes of action, Salas led the Aggies with eight points followed by Monique Mills, Gia Pack, Jeneva Toilolo and Zaire Williams who each added four.

The second half saw the Cougars expand their lead with a 7-2 run before the Aggies took over. Following a media timeout, NM State came out on a 12-2 run of their own in which an M. Mills three-pointer tied the game up at 41.

Salas then began to find a rhythm at the end of the quarter knocking down the Aggies final four baskets. The last shot of the third quarter saw the guard knock down a jumper to put NM State ahead 50-49. The shot by Salas not only gave the team a lead but it also made the Placentia, Calif. native just the 23rd Aggie in program history to join the 1,000-point club.

Through the end of the third quarter and 3:28 into the fourth, Salas recorded 23 of the Aggies 28 points to put the team up 61-51. Solid defensive play and execution from the line then allowed NM State to hold the lead and take down Chicago State, 74-59.

Following the victory to open WAC play, Salas led the way on a historic night for the guard as she recorded a double-double with a career-high 33 points and 13 rebounds. A pair of Aggies also finished the night in double-digits as Pack scored 12 and M. Mills added 10.

As a team, the Aggies dominated down low outscoring the Cougars 34-16 in the paint while also outrebounding Chicago State, 38-34 which included 18 offensive boards.

New Mexico State remains at home, as they welcome Grand Canyon to the Pan Am on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. MT.