Aggie Women Defeat Utah State 75-71

Madison SpenceThe New Mexico State women's basketball team picked up a crucial conference victory over visiting Utah State winning 75-71 on Saturday night as they rallied from a seven point deficit in the second half. Madison Spence scored 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting and fellow senior Danisha Corbett added 21 points on 5-of-10 from three point distance.

The first half saw both teams go on point runs as the Aggies rattled off five straight after falling behind 4-0 early. The UtAgs would score four more in a row to take an 8-5 lead but a pair of free throws by Danisha Corbett and a Jasmine Lowe layup would give the Aggies a -8 lead. Utah State would answer with a 5-0 run to take a 13-9 lead. The teams would trade a pair of threes and a pair of twos leaving the northern Aggies ahead 18-14 with 10:46 left in the half. New Mexico State would rattle off a 14-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 28-18 lead. The UtAgs would score four in a row to cut the Aggies' lead to six at 28-22 but Madison Spence would bury a three pointer with 3:22 left in the half to give the Aggies a 31-22 lead. The Aggies would miss a golden opportunity to extend their lead as Danisha Corbett missed a fast break layup, Tabytha Wampler would grab the offensive rebound but had her putback blocked and Utah State would capitalize on the missed opportunity as Alice Coddington would bury a three to cut the Aggies lead to 31-25. The triple would spark a 9-0 run tying the game at 3. The Aggies would get a three pointer from Erica Sanchez with under 30 seconds left in the half to send the Aggies into halftime with a 34-31 lead as Madison Spence and Danisha Corbett combined to score 19 of the final 22 points of the first half.  Continue Reading This Post >>

NM State vs. Utah State Tennis Photos

NM State vs. Utah State Men's Tennis Photos

The Daily Aggie :: 01/22/11

As big as Thursday night's game at Nevada was supposed to be, a win would have sent the Aggies into Logan with a chance to tie for first place with a win versus the northern Aggies, tonight's game is even bigger for New Mexico State. In fact, you could almost call this a "must-win" game for the Aggies. You don't often hear us call a game a "must-win" but this is about as close to a must-win as you can get and here's why.

Tonight's game has serious implications for the Aggies as it pertains to their postseason hopes. Forget about regular season title hopes for just a second, everyone knows that if the Aggies want to return to the NCAA tournament this season they are going to have to do it by winning the WAC tournament in March. Here's why tonight's game is so important.

A loss by the Aggies tonight drops their conference record to 4-3. Now that may not seem like a big deal with nine conference games left to play but it's significant because with an Idaho win over Boise State (in Moscow) and a Nevada win over Louisiana Tech (in Reno) tonight it would drop the Aggies into fifth place in the league standings (both Nevada and BSU currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Aggies). Fifth place is a bad place to be. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth place teams all have to win four games in four days in Las Vegas in order to be crowned WAC tournament champions thanks to a new tournament format that gives the third and fourth place teams a first round bye and the first and second place teams a double-bye into the semifinal round.

A win by the Aggies keeps them just a game behind the UtAgs in the loss column with USU still having to make the trip to Las Cruces at the very end of the season. It also keeps them ahead of Nevada in the loss column and depending on the outcome of the Boise State/Idaho tilt tonight it could keep them ahead of Boise State in the loss column as well with both Idaho and Boise State making the journey to Las Cruces next week.

So hopefully now you understand just how important tonight's game is. It's huge. Winning four games in four days is a daunting task that the Aggies no doubt want to avoid having to try to accomplish.

As far as tonight's game goes the Aggies have to play better on defense tonight than they did on Thursday night. Plain and simple. New Mexico State gave up too many layups and dunks (Coach Menzies counted at least 10). The Aggies also have to get a big contribution from Gordo Castillo tonight. He was conspicuously absent in the box score on Thursday night after scoring 17 points in a blowout win over San Jose State last Saturday night. The Aggies need him to step up his scoring.

Hernst Laroche has to stay out of foul trouble. He'll be going up against another strong point guard tonight in USU's Brockeith Pane who nearly recorded a triple-double in the UtAgs win over Louisiana Tech with 11 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. The Aggie big men will also have their hands full with Tai Wesley and Nate Bendall. No doubt Wesley (and for sure the Utah State students) have not forgotten the broken nose suffered by Wesley in the WAC tournament championship game. Troy Gillenwater and Hamidu Rahman can expect to receive more than their fare share of hostility tonight from the Utah State fans as a result of that broken nose last March.

The UtAgs come into the game riding a record 20-game regular season conference winning streak. The last time these two teams met, the UtAgs were riding a 17-game winning streak. New Mexico State ended that streak and earned themselves a dance card. Hopefully tonight the Aggies can end another lengthy win Utah State win streak. New Mexico State is also one of the only WAC teams to win in Logan (Nevada being the other), however, that was in 2006. The results have not favored New Mexico State since then and as we mentioned yesterday the last two trips have resulted in 19 and 18 point losses respectively.

If the Aggies want to avoid hearing this at the end of the game tonight they will need to play much much better than they did on Thursday night.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 9:00 p.m. (MT) tip-off and can be seen on ESPNU with streaming video available via ESPN3.com. The game can be heard on the radio on the Aggie Sports Network with streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

The Aggie women are also back in action tonight as they host Utah State. The WAC race on the women's side is very interesting with five teams, including New Mexico State and Utah State, tied for third place at 2-2.

Utah State's Ashlee Brown and Devyn Christensen are both averaging 17.3 points per game in conference play. Brown is also averaging 10.8 rebounds per game. It should be an interesting battle in the post between her and Tabytha Wampler. Wampler has been relatively quiet in conference play averaging 11.75 points and 6.25 rebounds per game. She scored 17 points in the conference opener against Hawai'i but has not scored more than 12 in the three games since and had just six points and four rebounds in the last game against Fresno State and was just 1-of-4 from the field.

Tonight's game can be heard on KSNM AM 570 with streaming video and audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

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The Daily Aggie :: 01/21/11

Tough loss for the Aggies last night in Reno. The 19 point thumping was the second largest margin of defeat in Reno in the 17 road meetings. There was a 17-point loss in 1997 and a 22-point loss in 2006. The biggest problem last night was defense. The Aggie defense did not play up to the level that they had exhibited in their previous three victories. Nevada scored 90 points, a season high for them and in the postgame, Coach Menzies admitted that he did not expect the Wolf Pack to score 90 points on the Aggie defense.

We mentioned yesterday that the Wolf Pack's "Big Four" were averaging between 12.6 and 15 points per game and nobody else on the team was averaging more than 4.2 points per game. Last night the Big Four scored 69 points, nearly 15 points above their season average. A fifth Nevada player, Derrell Conner, scored 10 points (his season average coming was 4.2 points per game). If those players score their averages, the outcome may have been an Aggie victory.

Was last night's blowout loss surprising? Yes and no. Obviously winning at Reno is a difficult task, however, what occurred last night has become a problem over the past few seasons with the Aggies (once is an accident, twice is a trend, three times is a problem).

Each of the past four seasons (including this one) the Aggies, after experiencing some sustained success, have gone on the road and play poorly against a team that at least on paper, they should have beaten. In 2007 the Aggies lost at Louisiana Tech in overtime. That game snapped a 13-game winning streak that had them on the verge of cracking the Top 25. In 2008 the Aggies had won six of their previous eight games, just embarrassed Utah State winning 100-70, and then went to Hawai'i and got thumped by 23 points (giving up 94 points). In 2009 the Aggies had won four in a row (including a big road win over Nevada) and lost to LA Tech (who coming into the game was 4-9 in conference play) and last season the Aggies had won 12 of their last 14 games and went out and got beat by 19 points at Fresno State.

Here's the encouraging part for Aggie fans. Three of those four Aggie teams went on to win a conference title and two of them played in the NCAA tournament.

The Aggies have to regroup quickly as they face Utah State in Logan on Saturday night in front of a national audience on ESPNU at 9:00 p.m. (MT). The Aggies have not won in Logan since the year they joined the WAC and the last two trips to Logan have resulted in 19 and 18 point losses. USU has now won a WAC record 20 straight regular season conference games.

The Aggies snapped USU's 17-game win streak last season. We'll see if they can snap another UtAg streak on Saturday night.

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Aggies Ambushed In Reno, Fall To The Wolf Pack 90-71

The New Mexico State men's basketball team was routed in Reno on Thursday night falling 90-71 as Troy Gillenwater scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Hernst Laroche chipped in 11 points but was in foul trouble much of the game as he picked up his second and third fouls before halftime and his fourth with just over 13 minutes left in the game. Nevada's Deonte Burton tied for game-high honors with 22 points. Dario Hunt added 20 points as he hit 8-of-10 free throw attempts. Olek Czyz added 15 on 7-of-10 shooting and Malik Story and Derrell Connor each scored 10.

The Wolf Pack jumped out to an 11-6 lead hitting five of their first seven shots from the field. The Aggies would respond with a 12-5 run capped by a layup by Tyrone Watson to take an 18-16 lead with 11:29 left in the half. The Aggies would still lead by two at 22-20 after a layup from Troy Gillenwater. Following the layup Gillenwater would be called for a technical foul and the Wolf Pack would go on an 8-0 run to take a 28-22 lead forcing an Aggie timeout. Gillenwater would answer scoring five unanswered points including a three point play as the Aggies cut the Wolf Pack lead to two at 28-26 with 6:25 left in the half.

The two teams would trade threes as Deonte Burton hit for the Wolf Pack and Hernst Laroche for the Aggies to make the score 33-31 with 4:42 left in the half. After a jumper from Deonte Burton gave the Wolf Pack a 35-31 led, Christian Kabongo would hit a three to cut the deficit to one. The Aggies would still trail by one after a pair of Tshilidzi Nephawe free throws but the Wolf Pack would get a dunk and a layup from Dario Hunt to take a 41-36 lead. Hernst Laroche would pick up two quick fouls in the span of 32 seconds giving him three for the half and Hunt would hit both free throws to send the Wolf Pack into the break up 43-36.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 01/20/11

Before we get into tonight's big rivalry game for the Aggies, we have some very interesting news on the softball front. Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph was a guest on the Aggie Coaches Show last night (hosted by Kyle Doperalski) and during the interview she was asked by Kyle to give her thoughts on the WAC contraction/expansion. Obviously losing Boise State, a second year but up and coming program after this season is tough. It drops the league back down to seven teams, where it was when the Aggies joined in 2006. The big, huge, enormous loss for the league however is the loss of Fresno State, Nevada and Hawai'i in the 2013 season. The WAC is the best league in the west behind the Pac 10 and one of the best leagues in the country period. The WAC has routinely sent multiple teams to the NCAA Regionals and sent four teams in 2008, Fresno State, Nevada, Hawai'i and Louisiana Tech and while none of them reached the Super Regionals, all four teams played in their respective Regional championship game. WAC softball is perhaps the strongest sport that the WAC fields. Stronger than men's basketball, stronger than women's basketball, stronger than baseball (even though WAC baseball has the only national championship in the current WAC) and yes, even stronger than volleyball.

Fresno State has been to each and every NCAA tournament. If we're not mistaken, they are the only program in the country that can make that claim. Hawai'i went to the College World Series last season (knocking off the number one overall seed in the process). Nevada, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State are all perennial contenders for reaching postseason play.

You get the picture. The defections from the WAC take a huge toll on the overall quality and competitiveness of the league, moreso than any other sport. Last season five different WAC teams combined for 10 non-conference wins over Top 25 teams, including a win by Utah State over No. 1 Washington (USU did not even qualify for the WAC tourney, that should tell you something) and 23 wins in the non-conference over BCS league teams (including five wins by the Aggies). Those 23 wins came via six of the eight WAC teams (further proof of the incredible competitiveness of WAC softball). The WAC softball hit list included wins over big time softball programs including Texas, Missouri, Alabama (twice), Stanford (twice), Cal, DePaul, Oklahoma and Washington. (Big-time thanks to the WAC Softball Blog for keeping us up to date on all those achievements)

Back to last night's coaches show. Though it has not officially been announced, Coach Rodolph mentioned that BYU will be joining the league starting in 2012, prior to the departures of Fresno State, Nevada and Hawai'i. She did not mention if this was a permanent arrangement, though we suspect it will likely only last until the West Coast Conference has enough softball programs to sponsor softball (there are currently only four WCC programs playing softball).

If you recall, when BYU went independent, three programs, swimming and diving, track and field and softball were left in limbo since the WCC does not sponsor those three. Swimming and diving has since landed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) and softball has apparently landed in the WAC which is great news for WAC softball fans. BYU enters their final season in the Mountain West this spring and they are the defending MWC champions.

On a side note, two of the prospective schools that the WAC is looking at for expansion, Seattle and Utah Valley, both sponsor softball and both play in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (home of the four WCC schools' softball teams).

Okay, about tonight's game. It's huge. Games against Nevada are always huge. This one is no different. The Pack has struggled a bit this season and is 5-13 overall but 2-3 in conference play with a win over Boise State at Boise (something the Aggies weren't able to do). That being said, the Aggies must also not look at Nevada's record and they must not look ahead to Saturday's game against Utah State. Focus on the Pack. They're much better than their record indicates. They have been in a lot of close games and have lost most of them. Ten of Nevada's games have been decided by 10 points or less, they've won just two of them. Had a few plays gone in Nevada's favor, they could have a vastly different record.

Nevada has some solid talent. They have a very solid, but freshman, point guard in Deonte Burton who has scored 43 points in his last two games. They have a Duke transfer in Olek Czyz who is currently the leading scorer in the WAC (conference games only). Czyz started off a little slowly averaging just eight points per game in his first four games. However, something clicked and he rattled off 23, 26 and 25 points respectively in his first three conference games. He's since cooled off a bit scoring 14 and 11 in his last two games but he is an effective and efficient scorer and he, much like Troy Gillenwater, can knock down the trifecta. Through five conference games he's shooting 11-of-21 from deep and overall is hitting 66.7 percent of his shots from the floor.

As we mentioned in our conference preview for Rush The Court way way way back before the season started, we picked Czyz as our Impact Newcomer.

Olek Czyz (F) - Nevada: Czyz, a native of Poland who graduated from high school in Reno, NV, is a 6’7 redshirt sophomore who left Duke to return to Reno, where he won two high school championships. Czyz will miss the first part of the semester fulfilling transfer requirements (he transferred from Duke midseason) but should have an immediate impact in conference play. Even though Czyz only played in six games for the Blue Devils in 2009-10, the WAC is not the ACC and Nevada is certainly not Duke in terms of history nor talent level. Czyz will likely work himself into a starting spot for the Wolf Pack this season.

The Aggie bench will be a big factor in this game. Nevada rides their big four of Czyz, Malik Story, Dario Hunt and Deonte Burton to the tune of nearly 30 minutes per game out of all four. Those four average over 12.6 PPG each and outside of them, nobody else is averaging more than 4.2 PPG.

The Aggies just need to continue to do what they've been doing the past three games and they should win this game.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (MT) and the game can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network with streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 01/18/11

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the game against Fresno State on Saturday? Your freshman Jasmine Rutledge had a pretty solid game with 15 rebounds.
Darin Spence: We came out in the beginning of the game and I thought we were focused and we were into the game and then we didn't react very well when we missed a handful of really good shots that we got early in the game. Even off some steals, Day Day had some breakouts, we probably missed five or six shots within six feet of the basket and I think once that happened it kind of took the wind out of our sails and we got back on our heels for the rest of the night. They're an awfully good team and when you do that they're going to step up and make you pay for that. Jasmine Rutledge is a very active freshman and she's been getting better and better.

bc.net: Your team did have a couple of good stretches in the game, after they had their 8-0 run your team responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead back to two. After being down by 17 at half, you cut the lead to nine in the early moments of the second half.
DS: We did. We cut it to nine in the second half with Jasmine Lowe shooting free throws. She scored that night but just didn't have one of her better outings. She was 2-for-7 from the free throw line. You just think of the free throws that she missed and the two Tabytha missed, I think Kaitlyn Soto missed three, you've got nine points right there from the foul line and it's a different game and obviously a different shooting percentage. We did some good things, we played with some energy, we just found out that a team like Fresno that has won at a high level and has some experience winning, you're going to have to be really good, especially on the road. There were stretches where I was kind of disappointed and we just kind of let down, not in how hard we played, just our execution. We'd get good shots and we'd miss shots or we'd play a good defensive possession and we'd get a stop, we just didn't feed off the positive plays enough and when a negative play would come we'd kind of hang our head and not fight through it quick enough. That was the disappointing part right there. Your'e going to have to be really good to go on the road and beat the team that's a two-time defending champion in our league. You're just going to have to be much better than we were.  Continue Reading This Post >>

AggieVision :: Track And Field Preview

AggieVision :: Aggie Academy :: Three Point Shooting

Lasasha Aldredge Named WAC Indoor Track Athlete Of The Week

Written By: WAC Media Relations

DENVER, CO - New Mexico State's Lasasha Aldredge and Hawai'i's Sarah Saddleton were named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Athletes of the Week, respectively, for the week of Jan. 10-16.

Aldredge, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif. (Central East HS), had a great start to the 2011 season at the University of New Mexico Lobo Open Invite in Albuquerque, N.M., on Jan. 15. Aldredge placed first in the 400 meters with a time of 57.27 seconds. Her time is the best mark in the WAC thus far in the early portion of the season. She was also a member of the 4x400 meter relay team that placed first finishing with a WAC-best time of 3:53.50. Aldrege also had a fifth-place finish in the 200 meters finishing with a time of 25.50.  Continue Reading This Post >>