Aggies Take Care Of Business At San Jose State

Written by: NMSU Athletic Dept.

SAN JOSE, CA – Four Aggies scored in doubles figures for the New Mexico State women's basketball team who forced a season-high 26 turnovers as NMSU defeated San Jose State 81-65 Thursday evening at the Events Center.

Senior forward Anikia Jawara scored a game-high 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and she made 7-of-10 foul shots. Classmate Sherell Neal added 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds while freshman guard Madison Spence hit three 3-pointers to help her to 15 points on the evening.

In her first start of the season senior guard Irma Kmitaite-Smith played a quality 30 minutes and scored 13 points to go along with a game-high five assists.

The Aggies improve to 19-6 on the year and 9-3 in the conference while the Spartans drop to 2-23 and 1-11 in the WAC.

New Mexico State played a very solid defensive game and they got a season-high 33 points off of turnovers as head coach Darin Spence was glad to see his team play well in its only game of the week.

"It's a great win for our kids to hold their composure and we played well in a tough environment," Spence said. "We had a good team effort tonight and defensively I though we were pretty solid for the most part."

The Aggies shot 48.2 percent from the field and made 21-of-29 free throws. San Jose State shot 40 percent from the floor and edged NMSU on the boards by three, but they had five players with four or more turnovers. There was a total of 50 fouls in the game that caused the final 10 plus minutes to really drag out.

Sophomore guard Myosha Barnes led the Spartans with 17 points and she had four assists.

The Aggies came out off the opening tip and really poured it on the Spartans early by outscoring them 17-4 in the first six minutes of the game. NMSU forced seven early turnovers, but Christine Martin got SJSU back in the game by hitting 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to cut the Aggies lead down to 19-12.

Jawara silenced the Spartan run with back-to-back buckets to give her 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. A 15-foot jumper from Neal four minutes later put the Aggies up by 12.

Barnes scored seven-straight points to slice the Aggies lead back to single digits, but the Aggies scored 10 points in the final two minutes of the half to take a 39-25 lead into the locker room.

San Jose State turned the over 16 times in the first half of the game and Jawara led NMSU's offensive charge by scoring 14 points in the first 20 minutes.

New Mexico State opened the second half on a 13-7 run in five minutes to open up a 20-point lead. Neal and Spence both hit 3-pointers at the trail end of the quick streak that blew the game wide open.

At the 9:50 mark Barnes scored her second old-fashion three point play on as many possessions to cut the Aggies lead down to 16. NMSU immediately in-bounded the ball and junior guard Tyshae Walton got a quick layup to make it a 63-45 Aggie lead.

By this point both teams were well into the bonus as the physical play created numerous fouls. Spence hit a 3-pointer on the far baseline after four free throws; two from Jawara and two from senior guard Monique Bribiescas to increase the Aggies lead to 21 at 6:48.

The Spartans kept scrapping back and would get within 12 points, but the slow pace of the game because of the fouls eventually came to an end with the Aggies picking up their sixth road victory of the season.

New Mexico State now returns to Las Cruces for a pair of crucial games. The Aggies host Nevada on Feb. 28 and two days later take on Fresno State in the first of back-to-back games between the two schools.