NMSU Women's Basketball Advances To WAC Tournament Semifinals With 84-60 Win Over Chicago State

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS VEGAS, NV - The top-seeded New Mexico State women’s basketball team opened the Western Athletic Conference with quarterfinal play against No. 8 Chicago State at the Orleans Arena on Wednesday night. A high-scoring night from Gia Pack and Brooke Salas led the Aggies to a dominant 84-60 victory over the Cougars.

Following the first round win head coach Brooke Atkinson said, “Our team was really ready to play and just chomping at the bit to get out there. Tonight we got good scoring from Brooke and Gia which was great to see and their hot-hands allowed us to feed them and built the early lead which the team fed off of.”

The Aggies truly seemed to be chomping at the bit to open tournament play as the team came out flying in the first quarter. A 6-0 run forced CSU to call a timeout just 2:13 in. The stoppage only slowed NM State down momentarily as the following the timeout the Aggies continued their run which built to 17-0.

Chicago State finally got on the board with 1:56 remaining in the opening quarter but the Aggies still closed out the first quarter ahead 20-5.

Play began to even out in the second quarter with neither team getting a run larger than six points. The Aggies and Cougars each put 22 points in the second, which held NM State’s 15-point lead, 42-27, at halftime.

The large lead for the Crimson & White was built off of a 20-point first half for Pack and the Aggies outscoring the Cougars on the fast break, 13-2.

In the third quarter, NM State and CSU continued to trade baskets, allowing the Aggies to hold their sizeable lead. A stoppage in play at the 4:51 mark saw the Aggies ahead 51-38. NM State continued to answer every shot Chicago State hit to head into the fourth quarter up 61-48.

Chicago State knocked down the first basket of the final quarter to pull within 11 points, but this was the closest NM State would allow the score to be. Pack and Salas combined for the next 15 Aggie points and the team led 76-57. NM State proceeded to close out the quarterfinal matchup on a 10-3 run for an 84-60 victory.

Scoring for the Aggies was led by Pack with 29 points, followed closely behind by Salas who added 27 and a team-high seven rebounds. A lack of turnovers proved pivotal for NM State as the team committed just seven, the lowest total this season.

New Mexico State now advances to the semifinals with a game at Orleans Arena on Friday, March 9, at 3:30 p.m. MT against the winner of the No. 4 Seattle U versus No. 5 UMKC matchup.