The Daily Aggie :: 11/12/10

The college basketball season officially opens today for both the Aggie men and the Aggie women. Both are on the road to open up conference play because of the Mariachi convention being held at the Pan Am (something that neither coach Menzies or Coach Spence sounded particularly thrilled with).

Nonetheless both Aggie teams are on the road and both are looking to open up the season with wins. The Aggie men are in Lafayette, LA to take on the University of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. The Cajuns have a new head coach, Bob Marlin, formerly the head coach at Sam Houston State. Louisiana has seven new players on their roster including three true freshmen. They've graduated their top two scorers who were responsible for 32 poins per game but do return guard Randell Daigle who averaged 11.5 points per game and was te team's best three point shooter at 38.6 percent (176 attempts).

The Ragin Cajuns own the season series with the Aggies holding a 10-2 advantage all-time. The last time these two teams met in Lafayette was in the 2004-2005 season, the Aggies last season in the Sun Belt, also the Aggies' worst season this decade. The Cajuns pasted the Aggies winning 91-49. That was a long time ago and thankfully a lot has changed since then.

The game tonight is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. MT tipoff. The game can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network with Jack Nixon calling all the exciting action. Streaming audio will also be available via Aggie Access. Live Stats will also be available via the Louisiana athletic website.

The Aggie women's basketball team is in the state of North Dakota where tonight they'll take on North Dakota State. The Bison were picked to finish fifth in the Summit League this year and return a First Team All-Conference player in guard Katie Birkel who averaged 12.3 points and 2.6 assists per game last season.

The Bison also welcome back to the court Hannah Linz who is battling Hodgkins lymphoma which is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Linz was diagnosed on April 10th of this year and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments. We wish Linz a speedy recover in her battle.

North Dakota State also has a 6'5" center in Janae Burich who the Aggies will try to go after and get into foul trouble. Burich averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season and played an average of 18 minutes per game.

The Bison are tough to beat on their home court. A victory tonight by the Aggies would be a very solid win. NDSU has a 384-58 record at home and is 113-24 in the past 10 years. They also draw well averaging 1,277 fans last season. This certainly won't be played in front of an empty gym.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff. Live Stats will be available via the North Dakota State athletic website.

The Aggie volleyball team was victorious again last night earning a 3-1 victory over Idaho in Moscow. The Aggies got a career night from freshman Rocio Gutierrez who finished with 17 kills, five more than her previous career best. Kayleigh Giddens also had a career night with 17 digs. She added 19 kills and now stands just 12 kills shy of becoming the single-season leader in kills and the first Aggie to ever record 500 or more kills. That record should fall tomorrow night in Boise when the Aggies take on Boise State.

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2010-2011 Aggie Men's Basketball Preview

The 2010-2011 New Mexico State men's basketball team has been picked to finish second in the WAC by both the league's coaches and media after winning the 2010 WAC Tournament and narrowly losing to eventual Final Four participant Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and in spite of losing nearly 40 points per game with the graduation of Jonathan Gibson and early departure of Jahmar Young.

The Aggies also suffered a setback in their frontcourt as Wendell McKines, the Aggies' best rebounder, suffered a broken foot in practice just days after the team opened practice for the 2010-2011 season leaving head coach Marvin Menzies to rely on role players and newcomers to fill the void left by McKines until his projected return at the beginning of 2011. "He's going to be sorely missed and it's a huge hit to not have Wendell here in our non-conference especially with our tough schedule," said head coach Marvin Menzies. But he also added, "I also feel like if other guys step up and pick up the slack, obviously you're not going to replace Wendell, but maybe you can replace him with two or three or four guys that get an extra rebound or two because Wendell is not around. It starts with the coaches and staff being willing to do the extra things to make sure the kids that are getting the opportunity to play are ready to take advantage of those opportunities."

Offensively the Aggies will need to find a way to replace roughly 50 points per game in scoring with the losses of Gibson, Young and McKines. If the Aggies' lone exhibition game is any indication, that shouldn't be an issue. The Aggies scored 98 points against Division II Eastern New Mexico.

The Aggies do return four other key members of their NCAA tournament squad in Hernst Laroche, Troy Gillenwater, Gordo Castillo and Hamidu Rahman. Those four combined with the newcomers and the potential return of McKines for WAC play gives the Aggies an excellent shot of repeating as league champions.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Volleyball Rallies For 3-1 Victory Over Idaho In Moscow

Rocio GutierrezThe Aggie volleyball team overcame a first set loss and an eight point deficit in the second set to win their match over Idaho 3-1 on Thursday night in Moscow, ID. The Aggies also clinched first round bye in the upcoming WAC tournament with the victory as they have assured themselves of no worse than a second place finish in the regular season. The Aggies lost the first set 25-20, rallied from down 21-15 to win the second set 25-23 and rode big leads in the third and fourth sets to 25-21 and 25-20 set victories.

The Aggies got a career-high 17 kills from Rocio Gutierrez on 41 swings with just five hitting errors. Gutierrez also recorded three block assists and a solo block and finished just two digs shy of a double-double. "Rocio Gutierrez was fantastic, for her to do what she did was really good," said head coach Mike Jordan after the match. "She passed the ball real well and served it great. She did a good job and put a lot of pressure on their outside hitters."

The Aggies also got 19 kills from Kayleigh Giddens who now needs just 12 kills to become the all-time single-season kills leader and the first Aggie to record 500 kills. Giddens had a team-high 17 digs and recorded her 12th double-double of the season. Fellow senior Whitney Woods added 12 kills, seven digs and four block assists.  Continue Reading This Post >>

WAC Adds Denver, UT-San Antonio And Texas State

Written By: WAC Media Relations

DENVER, CO - The Western Athletic Conference today announced that invitations for membership have been issued to and accepted by the University of Denver, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas State University to join the conference effective July 1, 2012.
The announcement was made by the chair of the WAC Board of Directors and Utah State University President Stan Albrecht and WAC Commissioner Karl Benson after the Board unanimously voted to issue the invitations earlier this week.

"The Board of Directors is extremely dedicated to the long-term stability and growth of the Western Athletic Conference," said Albrecht. "The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas State University and the University of Denver are three very strong institutions, both in their commitment to building athletic excellence and in their commitment to academics. We believe that all three will help us in our quest to make the WAC one of the outstanding athletic conferences in the country."  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 11/11/10

Today should be an interesting day. According to multiple mainstream media outlets yesterday, the WAC will be making an announcement this afternoon regarding expansion. It's expected that UT-San Antonio, Texas State and Denver will be announced as the winners of the WAC expansion (round one). Chelsi Moy of The Missoulian reported at roughly 11:00 a.m. this morning that Montana will not be joining the WAC and will remain in the Big Sky and at the FCS level for football. The Missoulian has two quotes, one from Montana President Royce Engstrom and one from Athletic Director Jim O'Day.

"At this time, FCS football presents the best overall fit for the university," Engstrom said. "It provides our student athletes and fans with a great experience, and it is consistent with the strategic direction of the university."

"I agree this is the best course for The University of Montana at this particular time," UM Athletics Director Jim O'Day said. "Right now, Grizzly athletics needs to concentrate on building its athletics infrastructure. That should be our No. 1 priority now and where we should be allocating our energy."

There are two key phrases in those two quotes, "At this time" and "Right now" uttered by both gentlemen. It sounds to us like the Grizzlies are gearing up for the next time major shakeups occur and in our opinion, they could be waiting for an invitation from the Mountain West Conference, which at least logically would be a better geographic fit than the new WAC (which is becoming decidedly more central-based with the additions of UTSA and Texas State).

Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Star Advertiser writes that the Warriors and Wahine may or may not be around to welcome the new additions in 2012. He states in the article that UH is exploring a Mountain West/Big West future with football independence as a fallback.

We can't really blame UH for not being thrilled with the addition of two more Central time zone teams and as we pointed out a little over a week ago, this expansion by the WAC could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back in regards to UH's continued membership in the WAC. Should UH leave, it would have serious implications for the WAC in terms of meeting the NCAA's continuity clause.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next few weeks as the Big East continues their plans for expansion and how that affects the Mountain West (TCU is reportedly the main target) which in turn could affect the WAC further (Utah State and Hawai'i getting invites? The MWC becomes the old WAC, sort of?)

And one final note on the WAC expansion situation, semi-related, the WAC will not be affiliated with the New Mexico Bowl at least for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the Pac-12 will send a team to play the Mountain West in Albuquerque. Aggie fans hoping for a NM Bowl bid better hope the Aggies can get it done next season.

The first day of the early signing period started yesterday and the Aggies pulled four recruits out of the state of Arizona with two heading to play for Coach Rodolph and the softball team and two heading to play for Coach Jordan and the volleyball team. Chelsea Dohrwardt and Ayssa Vargas will join the softball team next season (2012?) and Jocelyn Leichner and Bradley Nash will join volleyball in the 2011 season.

We've got lots of coaches interviews (Walker, Menzies, Harkins and Spence) posted from this week plus a lot of videos from the awesome guys over at AggieVision who continue to churn out high quality features.

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AggieVision :: Aggie Volleyball Update

AggieVision :: NM State vs. Utah State Recap/Louisiana Tech Preview

AggieVision Recaps the Utah State game with Coach Walker as well as previews the Louisiana Tech game on Saturday. Also included are this week's press conference videos.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 11/10/10 You open up on Friday and head out on the road for games at North Dakota State and North Dakota. How have the practices been going so far in preparation for the season opener?
Darin Spence: We've had roughly 24 practices in the time since we started and we've done some good things. It's a good group, they've been working hard, they've found ways to challenge themselves and they have a different level of expectations for themselves and the season. You've got a fairly experienced group coming back this season what has the group dynamic been like so far?
DS: We've been talking a lot about trying to develop and figure out what our identity as a group will be and what's going to be our edge that we play with all the time? Each year it can be something different. As a head coach I would like it to always be that we're the toughest defensive team out there. Obviously we're not in a position where we can hand-pick kids in recruiting and sign them so we've done a good job of getting kids that we feel fit into what we do. They work hard and they improve. So one year it might be that you're able to go outscore somebody and the next year you might have to play half-court or full-court. Just finding that identity has been a work in progress. What's going to be our mainstay, what can we hang our hat on?

Slowly but surely it's coming back around to us being a good defensive team like we were three years go. With that senior group that allowed us to work offensively and not put as much pressure on the offense, though that team did score well that year. But this team defensively we're coming around, we're getting better, rotating to the ball, getting penetration stopped, we're becoming a better rebounding team. Does that mean we're slowly moving into that as our team identity? I guess we'll see this weekend when we play.   Continue Reading This Post >>