LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 16) - The New Mexico State women's basketball team dropped a 58-51 decision to Hawai'i at the Pan American Center Thursday night.
The visiting Rainbow Wahine kept NM State out of the lead for most of the game. The Aggies led by no more than three points in the game. The Aggies trailed by one at the half and took the lead early in the second half but UH came back quickly in each instance to retake the lead.
Senior Erica Sanchez led NM State with 13 points. Classmate Tabytha Wampler added 11 for the Aggies. Eight NM State players scored in the game. The contest versus UH marked Aggie head coach Mark Trakh's 500th collegiate game on the sidelines. It was also the annual Play4Kay Pink game.
NM State drops to 5-20 overall and 2-8 in the WAC while Hawai'i improves to 9-15 and 4-5 in conference. Hawai'i completed the season sweep of the Aggies with the win.
NM State shot 31 percent from the floor (20-64). UH shot 40 percent from the field (21-53). The Wahine edged NM State on the boards in the game. UH shot 47 percent from long range making 7-of-15.
Senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal scored the first four points for the Aggie offense to put NM State up 4-2 early. After a couple lead changes, a bucket by freshman guard Simone Ruedin made it 8-7 in favor of the home team at the 12:23 mark.
UH moved ahead on a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to put the Wahine ahead 17-10 with 8:24 left. The teams played even over the next few minutes as UH held on to an eight-point advantage, 26-18, with 3:33 left before the half.
After sitting much of the first half, NM State senior forward Tabytha Wampler re-entered the game with a couple minutes remaining and scored five of the Aggies' 7-2 run to lead the half including a traditional three-point play with one second left. As a result, NM State found itself down one, 28-27, at halftime.
The Aggies shot just 30 percent (11-37) from the floor in the first half. UH shot 36 percent from the field (10-28). Six of the Rainbow Wahine shots were from long range as UH shot 60 percent from beyond the arc in the first 20. NM State made just 2-of-12 in the first for 17 percent from long range. Hawai'i led the Aggies on the boards in the half, 26-20. NM State committed just seven turnovers in the half and forced 10 on defense.
Inside the first minute of the second half, a jumper from Sanchez gave NM State its first lead, 29-28, since the 12:23 mark. The teams traded the lead several times before UH moved ahead 38-37 with 12:45 remaining.
The Aggies tied the game at 43-43 and then again at 45-45 with 7:01 left on the clock but NM State could not take over the lead. Wampler's basket at the 3:39 mark cut the Wahine lead to one, 49-48.
But UH put together an 8-0 in the final minutes to put the game away.
Hawai'i guard Breanna Arbuckle led the team with a game-high 17 points. Sophomore forward Kamilah Jackson finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and corralling 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Vicky Tagalicod added 13 points for UH.
NM State celebrates senior day on Saturday, Feb. 18 against San Jose State. The four Aggie seniors will be honored immediately following the NM State men's BracketBuster game against Drake, time permitting. The Aggies and Spartans are scheduled to tip at 3:30 p.m.
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