NMSU Women's Basketball Holds Off UMKC Rally For 70-62 Win

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s basketball played host to Western Athletic Conference foe UMKC at the Pan American Center on Saturday. After winning the tip and scoring the opening basket the Aggies cruised to victory, now having not trailed for eight straight quarters of play, in a 70-62 win over the Roos.

Following the crucial conference victory head coach Brooke Atkinson said, “When you get into league play every game is going to be tough. The fact that we buckled down, got stops when we needed too and made big free throws, which is what makes me proud. We stepped up and were able to outplay them today.”

In a game of runs NM State (11-9, 5-1 WAC) got the first one going on a quick 12-0 run to open the contest which forced UMKC (7-14, 3-3 WAC) to call a timeout just 2:29 into the first quarter.

Following the stoppage, the Aggies continued to knock down shots and the Roos hit their first three shots from downtown to get on the board. Through 10 minutes of play NM State led Kansas City 25-11.

Despite scoring the first basket just 11 seconds into the second quarter, the Aggies struggled in the second quarter, which has been the team’s lowest scoring frame through 20 games this season. UMKC went on an 8-0 run to close in on the NM State lead but a late three-pointer from Brooke Salas kept the Aggies ahead by double-digits, 32-23, at the end of the first half.

Heading to the locker rooms at halftime the Crimson & White led the Roos down low outscoring the opponent 18-12 and scored 16 points off turnovers as opposed to just five for UMKC.

To open the second quarter Salas quickly answered a UMKC basket, which was followed directly after by a shot from downtown by Tonishia Childress to expand the Aggies lead. The teams traded baskets prior to the media timeout, which saw NM State lead Kansas City 44-32 with 4:13 left in the third quarter.

A three-pointer from the Roos Aries Washington cut the Aggies lead down to just 10 points, but Jeneva Toilolo and Salas each knocked down late shots to give NM State a 50-36 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter opened with a three-minute 12-0 run for UMKC to put the Aggies lead at just four points, 52-48. A media timeout at the 4:34 mark gave NM State a helpful breather with the team allowing four points to be the closest the Roos would get.

Gia Pack knocked down four free throw shots over the final 24 seconds to cement the 70-62 conference victory for the Aggies.

Salas led play for NM State posting her sixth double-double of the year with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Pack also had 17 points in 34 minutes of play. Solid defensive play with 30 defensive rebounds, as well as seven blocks and seven steals helped secure the win for the Aggies.

New Mexico State now hits the road to take on WAC foe UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. MT.