NMSU Women's Basketball Beats Utah Valley 59-51

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s basketball team played host to Western Athletic Conference foe Utah Valley on Thursday night at the Pan American Center. An early run in the third quarter, followed by stout defense to close out the game led the Aggies to a 59-51 victory over the Wolverines.

Following the victory to end a two-game skid head coach Brooke Atkinson said “Getting back to being us by sharing the basketball, playing with energy and playing strong on the defensive end really spurred us. The ability to rebound and push also really helped and that is when we are at our best.”

The contest started slow with each team only putting up eight points at the media timeout 6:05 into the first quarter. Following the stoppage NM State (13-11, 7-3 WAC) was able to knock down back-to-back three-pointer to grab a 13-10 advantage over Utah Valley (12-15, 4-6 WAC) through 10 minutes of play.

NM State remained in control to open the second quarter with the first two baskets to carry a 10-0 run over from the first quarter. However, UVU quickly responded and went on an 18-2 tear, which put the Aggies in a hole down 28-20 with 1:34 left in the half.

The second quarter was the lowest scoring frame for the Aggies who only scored 11 and adversely the Wolverines had their highest total of the game with 20 to put NM State behind 30-24 at halftime.

Returning from the locker room for the third quarter the Aggies gave up the first basket of the third but then quickly shifted the momentum. A 16-0 run over 7:03 of action saw NM State regain the lead over Utah Valley, 40-32.

The Wolverines managed to score the final two baskets of the third but the Aggies still led 40-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

A pair of buckets from Brooke Salas and a layup for Gia Pack expanded the NM State lead to 10 points, 46-36, to open the final quarter. The remaining minutes of the fourth saw the Aggies play solid defense, which featured a crucial steal on an inbound pass by Gia Pack with 44 seconds left to seal the 59-51 win for NM State.

At game’s end, Salas led the Aggies in scoring with 25 points followed by Pack with 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.

The team separated themselves from UVU down low outrebounding the Wolverines 36-28. The Aggie also dominated in the paint scoring 34 points in contrast to just 14 for Utah Valley.

New Mexico State remains at home for its next WAC contest against Seattle U on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. MT.