NMSU Women's Basketball Falls At UC Riverside 65-64

RIVERSIDE, CA - The New Mexico State women's basketball team dropped a tough 65-64 decision on the road against UC Riverside on Friday night in the first game of its California road trip.

The Aggies got off to an excellent start with Brooke Salas scoring five early points for a 5-2 NM State lead with two minutes gone in the first. Although, the two sides then went back and forth with New Mexico State leading the Highlanders 12-10 at the media timeout with 4:10 left in the first. From there, the Aggies dominated the rest of the quarter, closing on a 13-4 run, including a buzzer-beating layup from Aaliyah Prince to take a 25-14 lead into the second. Salas finished the quarter with 12 points.

After Prince made two free throws with 9:29 to play in the second, the quarter was all UC Riverside as it whittled its deficit to 32-29 at the media timeout with 4:21 in the half. The Highlanders then went on a 10-4 lead to close the half and The Aggies went into the halftime break trailing 39-36. Salas finished the half with 12 points, while Stabresa McDaniel, Dominique Mills and Prince all finished the half with six points.

The two squads went back and forth to start the third with the Highlanders holding a 47-42 lead at the media timeout. Following the media timeout, freshman Tayelin Grays scored five points to help keep NM State within six at 54-48 heading into the final quarter of play.

Then, New Mexico State reeled off a 10-2 run to take a 58-56 lead with 6:20 to play. After Riverside tied it up at 58, Adenike Aderinto and Salas both notched layups to extend the Aggie lead to 62-58 at the media timeout. However, the Highlanders closed the game on a 7-2 run for a final score of UC Riverside 65, NM State 64.

Salas, playing just 30 minutes from her hometown of Placentia, scored 22 points and recorded six rebounds. This was Salas' fifth game with 20+ points this season as she moved past Sasha Weber into seventh on NM State's all-time scoring list. Gia Pack finished with eight points and six rebounds while Dominique Mills finished with seven and McDaniel and Prince finished with six points each.

The Aggies were outrebounded 39-32 while turning it over 16 times to 15 for UC Riverside. NM State shot 42.9 percent from the field while the Highlanders shot 43.9 percent.

New Mexico State is back in action as it continues its California road trip at UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, Dec. 30, at 3 p.m. (MT) before starting up conference play at home against California Baptist on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 6 p.m. (MT).