NMSU Women's Basketball Falls at Grand Canyon

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

PHOENIX, AZ - The New Mexico State women’s basketball fell 54-51 in a tightly contested game against Western Athletic Conference foe Grand Canyon at GCU arena on Thursday night.

Both sides started the game playing lock-down defense with GCU (4-9, 2-1 WAC) holding a 12-10 lead at the media timeout with 3:20 in the first. Aaliyah Prince then hit a jumper for the Aggies (9-6, 1-1) out of the timeout to cut Grand Canyon’s lead back to two. However, GCU scored two more baskets around two free throws from Brooke Salas to take a 16-12 lead into the second quarter.

NM State and the Lopes then traded buckets to start the second, with the Aggies getting scores from Dominique Mills, Monique Mills and Pack as well as a free throw from Adenike Aderinto. Trailing 25-17 with 6:35 in the half, New Mexico State went on a 7-0 run to trim GCU’s lead to one at 25-24 with 2:12 to play in the second after an and-one from Prince. Although the Grand Canyon scored the last three points of the half and the Aggies trailed 28-24 at the end of the half.

The third quarter opened with Brooke Salas scoring six of the Aggies first eight points to tie the game up at 32 with 4:54 in the period. The two sides traded scores with the score tied up at 36 at the three-minute mark. However, the Lopes closed the quarter on a 9-2 run and NM State trailed 45-38 going into the fourth. Salas scored 10 points in the quarter after scoring just four in the first half.

Both sides opened the fourth with strong defense as the Grand Canyon took a 50-44 lead into the media timeout at the 3:56 mark. NM State continued its strong defense and added two buckets from Rodrea Echols and a fast break score from Pack to cut the deficit to two at 53-51 with 1:25 to play. Although, neither side scored again until GCU made a free throw with 2.1 seconds left for a 54-51 Lopes lead. New Mexico State had one more chance to force overtime but was unable to get off a shot.

The Aggies were led by Brooke Salas with 16 points and 16 rebounds, her ninth double-double of the season and fourth 15+ rebound performance on the season. It was also Salas’ third straight double-double. Pack 10 points and four rebounds in her return to her hometown of Phoenix. Taylor Caldwell led the way for Grand Canyon with 15 points.

As a team, NM State shot 35.1 percent from the field while GCU shot 35.7 percent. The Aggies outrebounded the Lopes 41-38 while both teams turned the ball over 14 times.

New Mexico State is back in action as it continues its WAC road trip with a visit to the Icardo Center to take on CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. (MT). Saturday’s game is set to be streamed live on WatchESPN and ESPN 3 with a paid cable subscription.