Jawara’s Second Half Scoring Leads NMSU To Victory

Written by: NMSU Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Senior forward Anikia Jawara scored 16 second half points to help the New Mexico State women's basketball team stave off a 21-5 Louisiana Tech run to open the second half and pull out a 65-55 victory Thursday night at the Pan American Center.

The 10-point victory is the Aggies first ever win over Louisiana Tech in the regular season. NMSU now improves to 18-6 on the year and 8-3 in WAC play with its 10th-straight home victory while the Lady Techsters fall to 11-13 and 5-6 in the league.

New Mexico State was firing from all cylinders right off the opening tip and outscored the Lady Techsters 21-7 in the first 12 and a half minutes of the game. La. Tech shot just 19.4 percent in the opening half and the Aggies blocked eight shots to help them pull out to a 16-point halftime lead.

The Lady Techsters opened with a 14-0 run to start the second half and the game would eventually become tied at 39. Jawara was able to swing the momentum back to the Aggies who outscored La. Tech by 10 points in the final 9:48 of play to pull out the victory.

Jawara finish with a team-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds. Senior forward Sherell Neal picked up her 11th double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Forwards JoKeirra Sneed and Shanavia Dowdell led the Lady Techsters in the loss, combining for 37 of La. Tech's 55 points. Sneed had 18 points and 17 rebounds while Dowdell led all scores with 19 points.

The Aggies held Louisiana Tech to just 28.4 percent shooting from the field, which is the fourth time this season that NMSU has held a team under 30 percent shooting. New Mexico State forced 18 turnovers and finished with nine blocked shots.

Neal got the Aggies going at the start of the game by hitting two 3-pointers and gathering four rebounds in the first nine minutes of the game to help NMSU jump out to a 17-7 lead.

Defensively New Mexico State came out on top of its game holding the Lady Techsters to just 3-of-20 shooting from the field in the first 14 minutes of the game. Tiawana Pringle ended a five and a half minute scoreless stretch for the Lady Techsters with her 3-pointer at 5:33.

Freshman guard Madison Spence answered the Lady Techsters fourth basket of the game with a 3-pointer at 5:08 to put NMSU up 26-12. Senior guard Monique Bribiescas hit two treys and scored the Aggies final eight points in the final three minutes to give New Mexico State a 34-18 lead after 20 minutes of play.

La. Tech's 18 first-half points tied for the second lowest total NMSU has held a team to in a half this season and it was the 12 forced turnovers and eight blocked shots that hounded the Lady Techsters in the opening frame.

The first five minutes of the second half was a completely different story from the first, as La. Tech opened with a 14 unanswered points to cut the Aggies lead down to two.

New Mexico State missed its first eight shots until junior guard Tyshae Walton finally stopped the bleeding with a free throw that sophomore guard Hannah Spanich followed on the next possession with a put-back layup off an offensive rebound.

Dowdell tied the game up at 39 for the Lady Techsters with her eighth point of the second half. Jawara swung the momentum back to the Aggies side with her energetic play as she scored five points in a 12-1 Aggie run over 4:25.

That run catapulted NMSU to a 12 point lead with 4:05 to play and the Aggies would never look back as they closed out the game for the victory.

Bribiescas finished the game scoring 10 points on 2-of-4 shooting and she was 4-of-7 at the free-throw line. New Mexico State as a team was 7-for-9 at the line in the final two minutes to help secure the victory.

The Aggies are now within two victories with five regular season games remaining of pulling off the program's 10th season with 20 or more wins. The last time it was done was in 1995-96 when NMSU finished 20-10.

New Mexico State is now off for a week until they travel to San Jose, Calif. to try to sweep the San Jose State Spartans on Feb. 21. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. MDT.