The Daily Aggie :: 01/08/11

The Aggie men's and women's basketball teams are in action today as the men host Fresno State and the women are on the road in San Jose to take on the Spartans.

The Aggie men's team will try to cool off a suddenly hot Fresno State team that has won six of their last seven games and are off to a 3-0 start in league play. The Aggies are 1-1 in league play and this game is the start of a crucial five-game stretch in which they'll play Fresno State, Hawai'i, San Jose State, Nevada and Utah State before a rematch with Boise State.

The status of Fresno State forward Tim Steed is unknown for tonight but he did sit out Thursday night's game at Louisiana Tech after suffering the ankle injury against Nevada earlier this week. If Steed is unable to play tonight's it's a big blow for the Bulldogs as Steed is averaging 18 points per game in conference play, double his non-conference output.

The matchup to watch tonight will be Fresno State center Greg Smith versus the Aggie centers. Smith is the Bulldogs' leading rebounder in conference and has put up eight, nine and 12 rebound performances in the three conference games and has scored 16, 15 and 14 points respectively.

The other matchup to watch is at the point guard spot where recently eligible Steven Shepp has 16 assists and just three turnovers through his first four games. Hernst Laroche has done well with a mixed lineup and has 74 assists and just 37 turnovers through 16 games a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff and can be seen on AggieVision, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3.com with radio coverage on the Aggie Sports Network and streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

The Aggie women's team looks for the road sweep tonight as they take on San Jose State. The Spartans have been struck by injuries this season. Only two of their players have played in all 14 games, three others have played in 13 of 14 games. Only Brittany Johnson has played and started in all of the games she has appeared in. AJ Newton is averaging 10.2 points per game to lead the Spartans.

SJSU is averaging just 47.6 points per game and is giving up 67.4 points per game and are being outrebounded by six per game. The Spartans have also had a tough time taking care of the ball averaging 22 turnovers per game which plays into the Aggies' strength on defense.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff and can be heard on KSNM AM 570 with streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

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The Daily Aggie :: 01/07/11

The Aggie women's basketball team picked up a solid conference opening victory last night in Honolulu as they pulled away from the Wahine late to pick up a 74-58 win. The game was close for roughly the first 34 minutes or so but the Aggie seniors, Jasmine Lowe in particular, really came through down the stretch. All three seniors had solid nights as Danisha Corbett hit three three-pointers in the first half, Madison Spence scored 13 of her 14 points in the second half and Jasmine Lowe scored seven straight points late in the second half that helped the Aggies build a 16-point lead.

Often times you'll hear a coach talk about the final score not being indicative of how the game was played, but in this case, even though it was close throughout until the final few minutes, the final score really was indicative of how the game was played. The Aggies outplayed the Wahine the entire night. The Aggies only held a three point lead at halftime but it really should have been a 12 or 14 point lead. The Aggies were their own worst enemies in the first half committing some careless turnovers on either ill-advised or lazy passes and a few "quick" shots (shots taken either outside the context of the offense or way, way too early in the shot clock).

The Aggies also did not execute twice on fast breaks, once in the first half not completing a 3-on-1 break and once in the second half as they were unable to finish off a 3-on-1 (and a half) fast break. The second half miscue didn't hurt them though as they were able to knock down a three a bit later in the possession. Those are the types of plays that the Aggies will absolutely need to complete when they face tougher competition (i.e. Louisiana Tech, Nevada, Fresno State).

That being said, the Aggies did post the victory and as we pointed out yesterday, the Aggies shot well from the free throw line (15-of-18) and when they have shot well on the road from the stripe, they have won.

Up next for the Aggies is San Jose State who fell to 0-14 on the season after losing to Louisiana Tech. The Spartans hung tough for a little while but were eventually overwhelmed by the Lady Techsters. Anything short of a road sweep for the Aggies will be very disappointing.

The Aggie men's team will host Fresno State on Saturday night and the Bulldogs took to the road to face Louisiana Tech and came away with a very impressive 63-56 win. Fresno has won six of their last seven games and they won last night without Tim Steed who we mentioned a couple days ago could miss Saturday's game with an ankle injury.

Tomorrow's game became even more important for the Aggies as prior to last night, the Aggies owned the only road victory in the first nine games of league play. However, all three road teams won last night with the aforementioned Fresno win plus Idaho's thumping of Hawai'i and Boise State's thrilling 102-101 quadruple-overtime win over San Jose State.

It becomes increasingly important now for the Aggies to protect home court over the next three games against Fresno State, Hawai'i and San Jose State.

In case you missed it yesterday, the Aggie football team stole a recruit from a Big 10 school. Coach Walker's crew continues to impress with their solid recruiting.

Finally, we'd like to congratulate our buddy Don Flora who was named the head volleyball coach at Texas Tech this morning. Coach Flora has spent the past two seasons as the top assistant with the Aggies and has realized his goal/dream of being a Division I head coach.

Coach Flora's appointment adds to the growing list of former Aggies who have gone on to become head coaches. Earlier in the week former Aggie player Tanya Allen accepted the head coaching post at Texas A&M Kingsville, former Coach Jordan assistants Ashley Hardee (North Dakota), Debbie Baker (Southern Utah) and Phil McDaniel (Drake) are also now successful head coaches. Also this offseason, a former Aggie ('96-'97, pre-Mike Jordan) and Sun Devil Darice Pratt was named as the head coach at Dixie State. Former Aggie standout Krystal Torres is also an assistant on the North Dakota staff and former Aggie standout Kim Oguh is an assistant on the Southern Utah staff.

We wish Coach Flora and all the former Aggies much success in the coming season.

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Aggies Snap 5-Game Skid With 74-58 Victory At Hawai'i In WAC Opener

The Aggie women's basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak and opened league play with a 74-58 victory over Hawai'i on Thursday evening in Honoulu as Tabytha Wampler scored a game-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. The Aggies would lead by just three at halftime but pulled away late for the 74-58 win.

After jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead, the Aggies fell behind 10-5 as the Wahine went on an 8-0 run but New Mexico State would answer going on a 15-2 run over the next six minutes to take a 20-12 lead. The Aggies would get a pair of threes from Jasmine Lowe and Danisha Corbett during the run.

The Wahine would cut the Aggies' lead to just five at 27-22 after a pair of free throws by Shawna-Lei Kuehu with 6:10 left in the half but teammate Breanna Arbuckle would miss a pair of free throws that would have cut the Aggies' lead three and the Aggies would get a pair of free throws from Tabytha Wampler to go ahead 29-22 with 4:52 left in the half. Danisha Corbett would give the Aggies their largest lead of the half hitting a three pointer to go up 34-24 with 3:52 left in the half but the Wahine would finish the half on a 9-2 run to send the game into the break with the Aggies ahead 36-33.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 01/06/11 :: Football Recruiting Update

A quick football recruiting note to pass along. The Aggies have picked up a verbal commitment from 5'11" DB Samuel Oyenuga (Rowlett H.S., Rowlett, Tex). This is significant because Oyenuga had originally committed to Minnesota but with the coaching change there, he has de-committed and given his commitment to the Aggies. He announced his decision yesterday on his Facebook page saying:

"ma mom jux gave me the best advice ever.. "go were your wanted, not were you think you wanna be" .....ima aggie now". (H/T GopherHole.com)

You can check out video of Oyenuga in action here (courtesy of Yahoo! Sports).

Prior to committing to Minnesota, Oyenuga had received interest from Memphis and Wake Forest.

Texas Tech To Name Aggie Volleyball Assistant Don Flora As Next Head Coach

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LUBBOCK, TX - Texas Tech University is holding a press conference, Friday, Jan. 7 at 11 a.m. (CT) to announce the hiring of Don Flora as their eight volleyball head coach in school history.

Flora has spent the past two seasons with the Aggies and helped the team to a 38-22 record while holding the top-assistant position under head coach Mike Jordan. Flora spent his tenure at NM State as the recruiting coordinator and his responsibilities to the program included directing recruiting activities, daily practice instruction with the student-athletes and involvement in daily program growth and development.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Chace Perkins Named CollegeBaseballLineup.com Third Team All-American

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State senior outfielder Chace Perkins was named a 2011 third team Preseason All-American by CollegeBaseballLineup.com (formerly PING!Baseball), Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Perkins, a native of Sparks, Nev., played in 57 games for the Aggies in 2010 finishing with a team-leading 17 home runs as the Aggies finished with 104 home runs on the year, which put them in the top 10 nationally. He also posted a team-high .746 slugging-percentage and a team-high 70 RBI. Head coach Rocky Ward was extremely please with Perkins' output for NM State last year.

"Chace had a great year for us last year and we are looking forward to him being a key component of our top-ranked offense this year," Ward said.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 01/06/11

The Aggie women's basketball team opens WAC play tonight on the road against Hawai'i. The Wahine are 6-7 on the season and are no longer a game that you can just "pencil in" a 'W' on the schedule. Second year head coach Dana Takahara-Dias has the Wahine playing much better than in seasons past. The Wahine are led by freshman forward Kamilah Jackson who is averaging 13.9 points per game and erupted for 31 against Cal State-Bakersfield. Second on the team in scoring is senior guard Keisha Kanekoa who is averaging 12.5 points per game and Albuquerque native Megan Tinnin, also a senior, is third on the team in scoring averaging 9.5 points per game and is the team's designated three point shooter having taken 84 threes and made 26 (31 percent).

The Wahine are averaging 63.6 points per game while allowing 65.7 points per game. They also have a +3.1 rebounding margin per game. Teams have been able to shoot threes fairly effectively against the Wahine hitting 33.5 percent (86-of-257).

It should be an interesting game tonight as the Aggies have set their sights on a road sweep. The Aggies swept the series last season winning 75-67 in Honolulu and 73-51 in Las Cruces. The Aggies split the series in 2009, swept the series in 2008 (the Aggies rallied from a 19-point deficit in Honolulu to win by one), split the series in 2007 and split the series in 2006. Most of the games between the Aggies and Wahine have been down-to-the-wire affairs and this one could come down to the end as well and if it does, free throw shooting will be key.

The Wahine are just a 62.9 percent free throw shooting team and have just two players, Keisha Kanekoa (77.6) and Megan TInnin (73.3), who hit better than 70 percent from the stripe.

The Aggies, normally a very good free throw shooting team (72.3 percent on th season), have struggled from the stripe in their four road losses hitting just 57.3 percent (35-of-61). Conversely, in their two road wins, they have shot 88.8 percent from the line (40-of-45). There is also another trend there, in their two road wins, they've averaged 22.5 free throw attempts per game. In the four losses, they've averaged just over 15 free throw attempts per game.

Tonight's game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff and can be seen on Aggievision, ESPN3.com and ESPN Full Court pay per view. You can also listen to the game on KSNM AM 570 with Kyle Doperalski calling the action with streaming audio available via Aggie Access.

Finally, a hearty congratulations to former Aggie Tanya Allen who was named the head coach at Texas A&M Kingsville yesterday. Allen, a native of Deming, N.M., was a part of the Aggie team that ended the Hawai'i conference win streak in 2006. She has spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Frank Phillips Junior College where she posted a 110-30 record, won three conference titles and has been named the National Junior College Athletic Association District V Coach of the Year twice. This is a great opportunity for Allen and we wish her the best of luck at her new school.

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The Daily Aggie :: 01/05/11

Unless you've been living under a rock the past couple of days you're well aware by now of Wendell McKines' decision to redshirt this season and return in 2011-2012 for his final season. You can check out this week's interview with Coach Menzies to find out more on the decision and how it affects the team this season and next season. We also asked Wendell McKines about his new role on the bench as Coach Menzies' unpaid assistant coach and how it has helped him grow as a player.

The Aggies are back in action on Saturday when they host Fresno State who is off to a surprising 2-0 start in conference play after defeating San Jose State (our sleeper pick) and Nevada. Bad news for Fresno State could be good news for the Aggie interior defenders as the Bulldogs' Tim Steed is likely out for the Bulldogs' game against Louisiana Tech and could also be out for the matchup on Saturday in the Pan Am. Steed scored 20 in Fresno's win over Nevada hitting 8-of-13 from the floor, 2-of-3 from three point distance and 2-of-3 from the charity stripe while grabbing six rebounds and he's averaging 18.0 points per game in conference play, tied for fifth most in the league and 6.0 rebounds per game, tied for 11th most in the league.

Bad news for the Aggies is that Bulldog center Greg Smith appears to have snapped out of his season-long funk. Smith was averaging under 10 points and under 10 rebounds per game in non-conference play prompting just about everyone to ask, "What happened to Greg Smith?" Smith has answered in the Bulldogs' first two conference games by averaging 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Projecting a little bit into the future, the Aggies' next opponent, Hawai'i received a big boost yesterday as senior center Bill Amis returned to practice after suffering a stress fracture earlier int eh season that has caused him to miss the bulk of the non-conference. Amis missed all of last season with an injury and prior to his injury this season, he was averaging 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in four appearances and hitting over 64 percent of his shots from the field. If he keeps up those numbers, he would be just outside in the Top 10 in scoring and just outside the Top 10 in rebounding in the WAC. The Aggie big men will certainly get tested in four of their next five games as they'll face Greg Smith (Fresno), potentially face Bill Amis (Hawai'i), Tai Wesley (Utah State) and Olek Czyz (Nevada). Czyz, a Reno native who transferred back home from Duke midway through last season, is leading the WAC in scoring at 24.5 points per game from the forward position.

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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Menzies Interview :: 01/04/11

Editorial Note: This week's interview was conducted through a teleconference with members of the media from the Las Cruces Sun-News, Las Cruces Bulletin and Albuquerque Journal. The questions asked by bleedCrimson.net are marked as such.

On whether redshirting was a difficult decision for Wendell:
Marvin Menzies: It was. Wendell is very competitive by nature and really didn't want to sit out the full year but the injury just took longer than we anticipated in getting him back to 100 percent. It kind of forced our hand a little bit. He's close to 100 percent now. He has a green light to practice. He'll probably be a little out of shape and probably take a little bit longer to get all the way back in sync with the team, it wouldn't take too long because of his experience. But at the end of the day when we looked at everything the signs kept pushing to him coming back and having a great senior season and getting his degree. He loves Las Cruces, he's in no hurry to leave. It was just one of those deals where all the signs eventually made it pretty clear what he needed to do.

On when they sat down to decide on the redshirt:
MM: On the Idaho/Boise swing we kind of came to the conclusion. That's when it was really finalized.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 01/04/11

The news of the day, Wendell McKines will redshirt this season. Not a huge surprise if you really think about it. As we mentioned yesterday, best case for McKines would have been to play the WAC games which is a 16-game slate plus tournament games. He's already missed two of those 16 games. Additionally, as we also mentioned yesterday, he's not anywhere near game conditioning level and that could take anywhere from half to two-thirds of the conference season simply because he hasn't been able to practice with the team as he did last year when he sat out first semester due to academic issues. So in reality, the Aggies would have gotten the full Wendell McKines experience (i.e. 100 percent health, 100 percent conditioning) for maybe six or seven games.

With McKines redshirting, barring any unforeseen circumstances, McKines will suit up for the Aggies' 30-plus game schedule next year, the Aggies will have a senior-laden starting lineup, a strong bench and a serious shot to make a deep NCAA tournament run (the mid-majors who have had the Sweet 16, Elite 8 type of runs in recent seasons have had exactly this formula).

All-in-all it's the right decision for both McKines and the Aggie basketball program and it could end up helping McKines in his hopes to play professionally (he'd be much less of a gamble for teams with a full season of performances to gauge versus six or eight games fully healthy).

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