NMSU Women's Basketball Takes Round One In Battle Of I-10

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

EL PASO, TX - The New Mexico State women’s basketball team raced out to an early lead against UTEP before making clutch shots down the stretch to win its second-straight Battle of I-10 in El Paso, 69-65, on Saturday afternoon. NM State won last year’s meeting 76-68, also in the Sun City.

Although UTEP would get the scoring going with a three at seventh minute mark of the first quarter, the quarter was all Aggies from there. NM State got a three from Brooke Salas to get on the scoreboard before scoring 12 straight points to take a 15-3 lead with 1:56 to go . UTEP then scored two free throws before Salas capped an 18-3 run with a three with 1:15 until the end of the first.

The Miners nailed a three with 17 seconds to play in the period for an 18-8 NM State lead at the intermission. The Aggie defense held UTEP to just 2-13 shooting in the quarter while shooting 50% (7-14).

The second quarter started with a 5-0 UTEP run before New Mexico State responded with a 6-0 run capped by two free throws from Dominique Mills to take a 26-13 lead with 4:32 left in the half. After two Miner free throws, Mills took it to the rim to extend the lead to 28-15. UTEP recorded an and-one and two free throws while Aaliyah Prince drilled a jumper for the Aggies for a 30-22 lead at the half.

NM State’s defense held the Miners to just 6-27 (22.2%) shooting in the first half while making 42.9% (12-28) of its own shots in the half. Dominique Mills and Brooke Salas both had eight for the Aggies at the break.

Coming out of the break, UTEP whittled the lead down to four but Brooke Salas and Dominique Mills scored the next five points to push the lead to 37-28 with 5:35 to play in the third. UTEP again cut the lead to four at 39-35 before a three and a lay in from Gia Pack extended the lead back to nine at 44-35. NM State received a put back from Prince while UTEP made a bucket and a free throw for a 46-38 NM State lead at the end of the third.

The Miners started the fourth on an 18-10 run to tie the game up at 56 after two free throws with three minutes to play. However, NM State responded with back-to-back threes from Pack and Monique Mills to take a 62-56 lead with 2:02 in the fourth. After UTEP made it 64-61 with 1:08 left, Monique Mills drilled another clutch three out of a timeout for a 67-61 lead with 40 seconds left in regulation. UTEP added two more buckets as did Salas and the Aggies held on for a 69-65 win.

Salas led all scorers with 18 points and added 11 boards to notch her first double-double of the season. Dominique and Monique Mills each added 11 points, Prince nine and Pack eight and four rebounds. Dominique Mills’ 11 tied her career-high for points.

NM State shot 48.3% (28-58) on the night, including 34.8% from three, while holding UTEP to just 35.3% (18-51) from the field. Both sides turned it over 14 times while UTEP held a slight edge in rebounds, 36-33.

The Aggies are back in action when they return home on Tuesday, Nov. 20, to take on Abilene Christian at 6 p.m. (MT). Halftime of Tuesday’s game features the Great Paper Airplane Toss which wins the best paper pilot tickets to see the men’s team take on New Mexico on Dec. 4.