NMSU Women's Basketball Survives No. 4 Seed UMKC In Overtime

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS VEGAS, NV - Gia Pack scored 36 points and the New Mexico State women’s basketball team survived an upset-bid from fourth-seeded Kansas City with a 91-80 overtime win as it ran its winning streak to 16 games and advanced to the WAC Championship game. This was NM State’s 16th-straight win, the second-longest streak in program history.

“It was a heck of a ball game played by both teams,” said head coach Brooke Atkinson. “Hats off to my team, every last kid, whether they played or not, contributed. We hit big buckets, we got big stops down the stretch and I couldn’t be happier.”

Kansas City came out swinging, taking a 6-3 lead after Brooke Salas opened the game with a three. The two sides continued to trade blows with UMKC holding a 16-12 lead at the media timeout with 3:34 in the first. Then, Gia Pack hit a jumper before converting an old-fashioned three-point play to give NM State a 17-16 lead. The Roos then closed the quarter on a 7-2 run, with a three at the buzzer, to give them a 23-19 lead after one.

Kalei Atkinson then opened the second with back-to-back buckets to tie the game at 23. The two teams traded makes with NM State in the lead at the media timeout with 4:49 in the second, 29-28. However, Kansas City made four-straight free throws out of the timeout to lead 32-29 before Pack pulled up from three to tie it again with 2:48 to play in the half.

The Roos converted a three-point play but Atkinson responded with a three to tie it again at 35. Next, Kansas City took another lead at 37-35 but Tayelin Grays hit a pull-up jumper with 10 seconds left in the second and the two teams entered halftime tied at 37. The Aggies shot 48.5-percent from the field in the first half while also forcing nine turnovers.

The game continued as a back-and-forth affair out of the halftime break before UMKC took a 54-49 lead after the media timeout with 4:48 to play in the third. From there, NM State forced three-straight turnovers to start a 9-0 run that gave New Mexico State a 58-54 lead with just under two minutes in the quarter. However, the Roos responded with a 6-0 run of their own to lead 60-58 before two Pack free throws with 4.5 seconds tied the game at 60 heading into the fourth.

After sitting out most of the third quarter with foul trouble, Salas gave NM State a 67-62 lead after a three-point play with 6:05 in regulation. Kansas City refused to quit, however, hitting two three pointers around a Pack lay up to trim the Aggie lead to 69-68. Pack scored another lay up before Adenike Aderinto hit a jumper to give New Mexico State a five-point cushion, 73-68.

The Roos then brought it within one, 73-72 with 1:40 to play, before Pack pushed the lead back to three, 75-72, with 1:23 left in the fourth. However, Kansas City’s Ericka Mattingly tied the game with a deep three with 1:02 to play in regulation. The Roos forced an Aggie miss but NM State forced a shot clock violation on the other end with 2.8 seconds to play. New Mexico State got a shot off before the buzzer but Monique Mills’ three was just short and the game headed into overtime.

Pack stayed red-hot as she opened the extra period with back-to-back threes to give NM State a six-point lead, 81-75, before a three from Kansas City cut the lead back to three with 2:57 left to play. However, Monique Mills responded with a three of her own to start a 10-2 Aggie run to close the game. Pack scored 11 points in the overtime period as NM State won 91-80.

NM State was led by Pack, who posted a career-high 36 points on 12-22 shooting. She also added six rebounds and five assists. Salas added 12 points and eight rebounds while Kalei Atkinson scored 11 points. Monique Mills hit three three-pointers to finish with nine points. Salas moved into sixth place on the WAC all-time scoring list.

The Roos’ Ericka Mattingly scored 37 points to go with 10 rebounds and Kristen Moore added 14.

As a team, New Mexico State shot 49.3 percent (34-69) while forcing 21 turnovers on the evening. The Aggies were outrebounded 46-31 but dished out 15 assists to 9 for Kansas City.

New Mexico State returns to the hardwood on Saturday, March 15, at 3:30 p.m. (MT) for the WAC Championship game against either UT Rio Grande Valley or CSU Bakersfield. The championship will be streamed live on ESPN3.