The Aggie women's basketball team bounced back from their loss against Hawai'i as they stifled the visiting San Jose State Spartans last night 54-29. No, that is not a typo, SJSU only scored 29 points. It's the fewest points allowed by the Aggies against Division I team in the program's history. Only twice has New Mexico State held an opponent to fewer points. The Aggies (back then probably known as the Roadrunners) held Holloman Air Force Base to 13 points in a nailbiter (118-13) on November 19, 1976. Two years prior to that the Roadrunners had shootout with the Police Athletic Club (not literally) winning 28-14. In the "modern era" of women's basketball, the Aggies held San Diego to 36 points (1983), UT-Pan American to 36 points (1989) and most recently, Central Michigan to 35 points (1994).
The Spartans had only scored nine points by halftime and it took them 30 minutes of game time to finally outscore Tabytha Wampler (who finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds). Wampler had a 10-9 lead at halftime and continued to outscore the Spartans until they hit their 16th and 17th points.
All kidding aside, this was a very important victory for the Aggies. They improve to 5-6 in league play. They are a half game behind Idaho (who we mentioned on Wednesday has a tough tough tough finishing stretch), a game and a half behind Nevada who finishes with Boise State, the Aggies and then must close the season with LA Tech and Fresno State, and two games behind Utah State who finishes with Idaho, the Aggies, LA Tech but then ends the regular season with the dreaded Hawai'i/San Jose State swing.
If the Aggies can finish their final five games with a 4-1 record they will no doubt finish in the top four in the league (possibly as high as third), a 3-2 finish could also net them a top four seed depending on how the rest of the cards fall.
Last night was also win number 106 for head coach Darin Spence who in his seventh season as the Aggies' head coach is the second winningest coach in program history and realistically, he's the winningest coach because several of the wins that the Aggies' winningest coach, Karen Fey (no disrespect intended) racked up at least 24 of her 130 Aggie victories against various junior colleges, Fort Bliss, Holloman AFB, William Beaumont (not sure whether it was the man William Beaumont or the hospital in El Paso), Chihuahua (obviously a team from Mexico), Simon Fraser (a Canadian college that this year joined the NCAA's Division II).
We also did a little more research and Darin Spence has led the team to 73 victories (not including this year's total) during his first six seasons in the WAC. Outside of already established women's basketball powers Fresno State and LA Tech, that's the third most wins by any WAC program trailing only Nevada and Boise State for aggregate wins (also two fairly established west coast programs).
The Aggie baseball team gets their season underway today against Houston Baptist. It should be an interesting debut considering several factors. The Aggies lost a ton of production on offense to graduation and the NCAA made changes to the bat specifications in order to try to lower scoring and shorten game times. It will be interesting to see how the Aggie offense produces with the new bats. Obviously the Aggies are known for their home run hitting prowess but the Aggies are also a very very good doubles hitting team which can be just as useful in scoring runs.
First pitch for the 2011 season is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. (MT). Streaming video will be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).
The Aggie softball team is also back in action this weekend as they play No. 6 Oklahoma today at 4:30 p.m. (MT) in the Troy Cox Classic. Following the conclusion of that game they Aggies will take on Louisiana-Monroe.
The Aggie offense got off to a good start last weekend and they will definitely have their work cut out for them today as they will more than likely face OU ace Keilani Ricketts. If the last name Ricketts sounds familiar, it should. Kalani is the older sister of standout Hawai'i pitcher Stephanie Ricketts, a player whom the Aggies also recruited heavily.
Coach Rodolph wants the team to welcome the challenge of playing a Top 10 team and go out there with no fear. This will be the first of several opportunities in the non-conference to build an at-large resume. A win either today or Sunday when the Aggies face OU for the second time, would go a long way towards building that resume.
A couple of volleyball notes to pass along, the Aggies have hired an assistant to replace Don Flora (now the head coach at Texas Tech). The Aggies announced yesterday the hiring of Keith Rubio.
Also, the University of Arizona released their spring volleyball schedule and there are a couple of dates that Aggie fans should circle on their calendar. New Mexico State will travel to Tucson on March 26th for the Wildcats' spring tournament and then on April 9th, the Cats will come to Las Cruces.
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