NMSU Women's Basketball Defeats UTRGV, Claims Fourth Straight WAC Regular Season Title

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s basketball team hosted UT Rio Grande Valley at the Pan American Center for Senior Night in the regular season finale on Saturday. After outscoring the Vaqueros 48-31 in the second half, the Aggies earned a 72-56 victory that won the team a record fourth straight Western Athletic Conference regular-season title.

Following the monumental win head coach Brooke Atkinson said, “Coach Trakh and his staff did a great job putting quality pieces into this program that began a championship tradition. Stepping in here it was not easy to follow that but hats off to these young ladies and to my staff for continuing the success.”

Despite a high-scoring contest, NM State (17-11, 11-3 WAC) and UTRGV (14-15, 4-10 WAC) played stout defense and could not find a rhythm shooting early. The first basket came 3:23 into the game when Monique Mills knocked down a jumper for the Crimson & White.

That basket opened up a 9-0 run for the Aggies who held the Vaqueros scoreless 6:59 into the game. At the end of the first quarter NM State held an 11-8 lead.

Neither team was able to separate themselves as the second quarter opened with the Aggies and Vaqueros trading baskets. This back-and-forth scoring continued until a media timeout at the 3:34 mark.

Following the stoppage, UTRGV proceeded to close out the first half on an 8-1 run and put NM State down 25-24 at the end of the quarter. NM State kept the score close with outstanding defense in the first two quarters that featured 10 steals and four blocks.

The tide began to turn quickly as the second half opened. Brooke Salas led the Aggies on an 11-2 run, including three treys. This forced the Vaqueros to call a timeout just 2:56 into the third quarter with NM State leading 35-27.

After the timeout the Vaqueros were able to close the gap, but only for a moment as Gia Pack knocked down the Aggies final four baskets of the quarter to give the team a 48-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

This 10-point lead for NM State only expanded in the fourth quarter with the Aggies opening on a 15-3 run. After a media timeout, UTRGV was able to close the game on a 7-2 run of their own but NM State held a large lead and closed out the regular-season finale with a 72-56 victory.

At day’s end Salas led the Aggies with her seventh double-double of the season that included a team-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. Monique Mills followed off the bench tying her season-high with 20 points and Gia Pack added 18.

After securing the outright WAC Regular Season Championship, New Mexico State enters the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed with the first game scheduled for 7 p.m. MT on March 7 against No. 8 Chicago State.