Catching Up With Madison Spence

Written By: Bianca Matamoros-Koonce for NM State Media Relations

Madison SpenceLAS CRUCES, N.M. - Basketball is a team sport, and multiple players must play well to win an individual game and their conference. New Mexico State University women's basketball player Madison Spence is without a doubt one of the best players to have stepped on the court donning Crimson and White.

The 2010-11 preseason all-conference selection has helped the Aggies advance to a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament final and claim a WNIT bid in three years.

Before heading into her senior year, she has the confidence that comes from an amazing, successful career at NM State while accomplishing goals and breaking records. However in Spence's world it's more than just about what she is doing on the court.

"I know how much work I have put into this, so to see some things happen is great, but our team still hasn't won a WAC Championship," stated Spence. "That's really what I want to get this year."

Weekends in the life of this student athlete may be boring to some people, including herself, but honestly Spence is dedicated and focused. Going to the gym for an extra hour so she can hit her personal goal of becoming the best three-point shooter in the WAC and heading out to her brother's football game on a Saturday afternoon to show her support is part of her routine. Cheering for her sister at a Special Olympics event or coaching her sister's basketball team, these occasions exemplify her dedication on and off the court. She will at times shadow local Dr. Robert Villalobos to see what being an ophthalmologist is all about, as she pursues her degree. Plus she is studying for all her classes because the two-time Academic All-WAC selection is determined to make a 4.0 each semester.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Ellen Miks' Aggie Volleyball Diary :: October 21st, 2010

Ellen MiksHello Aggie Volleyball fans!  We made it through the long weekend!  Three home games in a row… and we came out of it with three wins!  Thank you all for coming and supporting your Lady Aggies!

Halloween is creeping around the corner… My roommates and I are so excited to start carving pumpkins and decorate for Halloween!  The other weekend we went to a haunted house in Anthony and it was awesome!  It was the first year that they were open and they did an amazing job.  There was an outdoor course that led into two indoor buildings filled with a bunch of scary stuff!  Us girls were terrified, but it's always fun to get at least a little scared this time of year! :]

Stephanie is officially out of the boot!  She is making great strides in her recovery and walking without any support.  It's amazing how it was only six weeks ago that this happened… But we are glad she is healing!

We are in Nevada waiting to take on Reno, and then we head to Logan to face Utah State for the first time this season.  Wish us luck and until next time… GOOOOOOOOO AGGIES!  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/21/10

The Aggie volleyball team is back in action tonight as they take on Nevada. The Aggies and Wolf Pack met on Sunday evening with the Aggies rallying in each set to post a 3-0 sweep. The Aggies have won eight straight matches against Nevada, however, the Wolf Pack are one of the few teams the Aggies have struggled against on the road in conference play. The Aggies are just 3-2 in Reno since joining the WAC.

Tonight's match is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. MT first serve and can be heard on the radio in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570 with streaming audio also available via Aggie Access (subscription required). Live Stats will also be available via the Nevada athletic website.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/20/10 You've gotten some good play out of your three freshmen, particularly this past weekend in your three wins.
Mike Jordan: They're getting better. I think they're getting more comfortable and they're improving. They're missing fewer assignments and making more plays. That's all you can ask. As long as they keep competing and giving it their best then we're going to continue to see better and better results. They've got a long way to go but they're making progress. What differences have you seen in the play of Rocio Gutierrez from the beginning of the year to this past weekend where she had a couple of big matches in the wins over Idaho and Nevada?
MJ: Confidence is a big deal for her. She's got a much better idea when she's going out there and she's starting to make more plays. I think of all the freshmen she's the most confident but I think she should be too. She played a higher level club ball than most so she's a little bit more prepared to play at this level and she's doing a good job. She's pretty versatile.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Winning The WAC, One Tall Order

Written By: Russell Barns for NM State Media Relations

Lauren CopeIn most areas involving competition, size matters. The stronger, faster and more physically formidable one is the better, except for maybe women’s soccer.

Lauren Cope or "Copee" to her friends is one such player. Listed at 5-2 she may be short even for soccer standards but that is her secret weapon.

"I don’t mind being short. Actually, I kind of like it I'm able to play head games with the opposition," Cope said. "They (opponents) get mad if I beat them for an air ball. I can get in their heads."

As a starting midfielder/forward, her main attribute is quickness. One doesn’t have to have blazing speed or overpowering strength. Cope can get to the ball before most other players.

"It's a matter of staying focused; being aware of the field and players. Knowing how the game plays."

Last year as a freshman, Cope had great success on the pitch. She was named WAC Offensive Player of the Week and scored several important goals that propelled the Aggies victory.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Arthur Surreaux Dominates For The Aggies

Written By: Jayna Nance for NM State Media Relations

Arthur SurreauxLAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State University men's tennis player Arthur Surreaux continues to see success this season with a 13-1 record while still continuing to improve his game.

The senior from Sainte-Adresse, France began playing tennis at barely the age of four-years-old and hasn't looked back since.

"My dad played tennis too, so I started playing with my brother and dad and really liked it," Surreaux said.

Surreaux came to NM State from Texas A&M at Corpus Christi in the spring of 2009. He posted an impressive 14-singles wins for the Aggies in his first season, tying for the team lead in singles.

During his second season with the Aggies Surreaux lead the team in singles with an outstanding 22 wins during the season. Now, in his third season with the Aggies, Surreaux is still advancing in the game and enjoying every second of life in Las Cruces.

"I love it here! It is very different from the culture that I am used to but it is always fun," Surreaux said.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/20/10

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News noted on his blog last night that Wendell McKines' broken foot will require surgery and that it's expected that he will miss 10 to 12 weeks. That puts his earliest return at some time in late December meaning that he'll miss the entire non-conference schedule. If he's able to return by the time WAC play starts it will be a huge boost. The question obviously is how will he play once he returns from the injury? Unlike last season when he missed the first semester because of grades, he won't be practicing every day with the team and it could take him half the conference season to get into "game shape." It will also be interesting to see how much this injury impacts McKines' explosiveness in terms of rebounding and his moves to the basket.

The Aggie volleyball team will be back in action tomorrow night as they take on Nevada in a rematch of Sunday night's match. The Aggies have been getting a significant amount of contributions from a trio of freshmen, Rocio Gutierrez, Amanda Tonga and Desiree Scott.

The guys at AggieVision have put together a feature on the trio which you can watch below.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Walker Interview :: 10/19/10 Your thoughts on the game against Fresno State?
DeWayne Walker: I know defensively I wish we could have played the first half the way we played the second half. It probably would have been another defensive struggle if we could have gotten a few things executed better in the first half.

We decided to put Matt Christian in the game, he's our starter and Fresno State's defensively line kind of got after us early and we didn't want to shellshocked our young quarterback. We thought Matt played okay, we've just got to try to generate more points on offense and find a way to get the ball in our playmakers' hands.

Our special teams with the exception of getting punts inside the ten, I thought our special teams really handled their return game as well. Speaking of special teams, for the second straight game your special teams recovered a muffed punt and actually the second punt of the game was very close to also being a muffed punt recovery in your favor.
DW: Coach Murphy has done a good job the last couple of weeks getting our coverage teams to cover well and that's something that we need to continue to do throughout the year. You got a good performance out of both running backs and maybe a sign of good things to come for both of them.
DW: That was something we thought that we would get earlier in the year. Kenny was kind of dinged up through camp and it appears that he's getting his mojo back and we're going to need these two guys down the stretch to try to help us get some more wins.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/19/10

The 2010-2011 WAC men's and women's preseason basketball polls have been released and the Aggie men were picked to finish second while the women were picked to finish sixth.

On the men's side, this is exactly where we thought the Aggies would get picked (thought, we did vote them in first place on our ballot). Had the Aggies returned Jahmar Young this season, the Aggies would have almost certainly been picked to finish first in both polls. Now the bad news. Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News reported last night that Aggie forward Wendell McKines suffered a broken foot in yesterday's practice. How long Wendell will be out remains to be seen, however, it does a copule of things to the Aggies. It forces someone else into a starting role who may have otherwise come off the bench, testing and potentially decreasing the Aggies' depth. It also increases the pressure on the Aggie guards to rebound and score. Wendell McKines averaged nearly a double-double (PPG/RPG) last season and that kind of production is hard to replace.

It also hurts the Aggies in that, Wendell McKines brings so much energy to the court. He's a fan favorite (even when he's calling them out on his blog) and his 150% effort on the floor is contagious for his teammates. Who steps up to be the emotional leader of this team while Wendell is out?

On the women's side, the Aggies were picked to finish sixth by both the media and the coaches. The Aggies are a tough team to gauge. They've been picked to finish high and they've been picked to finish low and they've either overperformed or underperformed. Sixth seems a little low considering they only lost one contributing senior off of last year's team, Crystal Boyd. This is the last ride for Madison Spence who we expect to have a monster season. She's been an All-WAC pick in either the preseason or postseason in all four of her years at New Mexico State. Last season the Aggies were able to get to the postseason for just the fourth time in program history but this could be the season the Aggies break their NCAA drought. Much of their success will be determined by whether they can get consistent production from their post players.

Tabytha Wampler is one of the better post players in the league, however, she hasn't been able to stay on the floor long enough to showcase her talent. She has a propensity for picking up fouls which has limited her time on the floor. The Aggies need her to be a 30-plus minute per game presence. Also, don't underestimate the importance of the return of forward Erica Sanchez to the squad. Sanchez is one of the better shot blockers in the league and she is also a player that can draw defenses out away from the basket. She's a good scorer facing the basket, if she can start scoring with her back to the basket, she could be a breakout player in the WAC.

The Aggie football team will head to Moscow, Idaho this weekend to take on the Idaho Vandals. The Aggies are coming off a 33-10 loss to Fresno State this past Saturday. The Vandals are 3-3 on the season and have been the epitome of up-and-down. In their three victories they've played outstanding defense allowing just 20 points total. However, in their three losses, their defense has not played well at all and they've allowed 38, 36 and 48 points. Idaho head coach Robb Akey said in his press conference yesterday, "We have got to be consistent, there's no question about that."

He went on to say that the team's performances against UNLV and Western Michigan were almost dominant performances by the Vandals and that because they've shown the ability to play like that, it means that they should be able to do it all the time.

This will also be homecoming for Idaho who has not played at home since September 18th. The Vandals are going to be fired up to be playing at home and the Aggies will definitely need to be able to match that intensity.

We had a chance to ask Coach Akey what he thought about the Aggie program in terms of the similarities between the situation Coach Walker is in trying to build the program and the situation he found himself in when he took over at Idaho. You can read his responses in our article chronicling the parallels between the Aggie program and Vandal program.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Women's Basketball Tabbed Sixth In WAC Preseason Polls

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s basketball team was chosen to place sixth in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) by both the media and coaches in the preseason polls released by the conference office Oct. 19.

Senior guard Madison Spence was selected as a member of the preseason All-WAC Second Team in both polls while classmate Jasmine Lowe earned All-WAC Second Team honors in the coaches’ poll.

Last season the Aggies advanced to their fourth postseason appearance in school history and finished in a tie for fourth place in the WAC after being picked fifth by the coaches and sixth by the media in the preseason polls. NM State advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1994 as a WNIT squad and finished the year at 18-14, doubling its win total from the season prior.

"I’m not really surprised about where we were picked," head coach Darin Spence said. "To be honest, I really don’t put a lot of stock into the preseason polls. This may give our team something to play for this season, to prove we are a better team and hit another level.

“I really see the league race this year being pretty tough. I know that a lot of teams have players back in key positions. I think we can play with anybody.”  Continue Reading This Post >>