Aggies Look to Sweep I-10 Rivalry Series
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  12/04/2012

This Week: NM State sets its focus on the second of a two-game series against I-10 rival UTEP on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in El Paso, Texas. The Aggies have met the Miners 86 times in program history, including last Wednesday's win in Las Cruces.

Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is producing 15 games on KSNM AM 570 this season, along with any contests in the post season with Jay Sanderson giving the play-by-play.

All games aired on radio are produced by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces. The broadcasts can also be heard from anywhere around the world on the Internet by logging onto www.NMStateSports.com.  Just click on the live events link to access the coverage for a fee.

Television Coverage: Eight games are scheduled to air on television this season on AggieVision. The first game broadcast is the Aggies home game versus I-10 Rival UTEP on Nov. 28 from the Pan American Center.  Fans can also go to www.AggieVision.tv for channel listings. 

Live Stats on the Web:  Live stats will be available for fans at www.NMStateSports.com at no cost for the entire season.  Fans can click on the Live Events link at the top of the NMStateSports.com home page to access the live stats. Live stats for away games may direct fans to the opposing team's athletics page.

Twitter/Facebook:  Get all the updates of Aggie Athletics on Twitter and Facebook. Get in-game statistics and in-game updates on Twitter @NMStateAggies.  Find out about all Aggie Athletics promotions and events on Facebook (NMSU Athletics and The Aggie Student-Athlete).

The Looks

Looking Ahead: NM State sets its focus on the second of a two-game series against I-10 rival UTEP on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in El Paso, Texas. The Aggies have met the Miners 81 times in program history, including last Wednesday's win in Las Cruces. After that, NM State will take a brief hiatus until it welcomes Rio Grande rival New Mexico to the Pan American Center on Dec. 18.

Looking Back: The Aggies went 2-0 on the weekend with a big win over undefeated I-10 rival UTEP 69-68 on Wednesday, and a late comeback win, 70-68, at Southern Utah. Stafanie Gilbreath earned a career-high 22 points against the Miners and Danesia Williamson led the Aggies with 23 points, 10 of those from the line. NM State then came up with a last minute win over the Thunderbirds, helping head coach Mark Trakh to his 300th career win as a Division I head coach. Williamson and Gilbreath led the team in points once again, with a layup by Williamson sealing the victory for NM State with two seconds on the clock.

Aggie Country

About the Aggies: NM State returns six from the 2011-12 team, including Kelsie Rozendaal, who finished the season with a .526 shooting percentage. Rozendaal was third on the team with 108 total rebounds and second with a .778 free throw percentage on the year. Senior Jasmine Rutledge also returns for the Aggies after averaging 5.7 points per game with 4.1 rebounds. Rutledge saw action in each of the Aggies 30 games last season and started in half of those.

Chrissy Fletcher and Camila Rosen also return to the hardwood as two of the Aggies starters. Fletcher went 4-for-4 at the free throw line against UTEP (11/16) while earning her second straight academic All-WAC honor. Rosen picked up 32 steals as a junior and earned a season-high 13 points against Boise State (1/7).

Gilbreath joins the Aggie squad as a transfer from USC. The former Trojan played in each of USC's 30 games last season, starting 17 contests and averaging 3.9 points per game. She led the team in free throw percentage at 83 percent (24-of-29) and averaged 2.6 rebounds per game. Gilbreath sat out three seasons with the Trojans due to knee injuries.

Trakh-ing Down No. 300: Head coach Mark Trakh picked up his 300th career win as a Division I head coach on Saturday, Dec. 1, against Southern Utah. The Aggies pulled off a last minute 70-68 defeat over the Thunderbirds, helping Trakh to earn the milestone victory. Currently, Trakh sits with a 300-213 career record.

Stef's Standout Week: The senior transfer averaged 18.5 points on 35.3 percentage shooting, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game as the Aggies went 2-0 on the week against UTEP and SUU. Gilbreath opened the week with a career-high 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and shooting 5-for-8 behind the three point line in the 69-68 win over I-10 rival UTEP. She tallied a career-high five three's (62.5 percent) against UTEP and matched her career numbers for rebounds (8) and assists (3). She then came back in the win over Southern Utah to post 15 points with a 35.7 shooting percentage. She was perfect at the line, going 6-for-6 on the week with three each game.

Second Half Comeback at SUU: The New Mexico State women's basketball team came back late in the second half to take a 70-68 victory over Southern Utah, 70-68 on Dec. 1, in Cedar City, Utah.

The Aggies proved powerful at the line, going 12-for-16 (75.0 percent). Seniors Stefanie Gilbreath and Kelsie Rozendaal each tallied 15 points on the game with sophomore Danesia Williamson collecting 11.

Gilbreath started the Aggies off with a three pointer right at the arc, followed by another three by freshman Sasha Weber. NM State then allowed the Thunderbirds to go on an 11 point run before Gilbreath dropped a jumper for the Aggies.

With the team trading point, Jasmine Rutledge picked up two free points for NM State before three other Aggies came up with shots to move the score to 26-18. Another pair of free baskets for the Aggies led the way for redshirt freshman Elena Holguin and Williamson to help the team stay in the game.

The second half started on the right foot for the Aggies with Rozendaal picking up the first five points for NM State with a long three to open the period. Williamson went to the line first time in the half, dropping both her shots and posting the Aggies score to 34 before the Thunderbirds made a move on offense.

Rozendaal sank her second of three three's on the night to put NM State within six points of the T-birds after being down by 14 at intermission.

Trading shots with the Thunderbirds, NM State came up with two free throws by Rutledge and two more by Williamson to put knot the score at 68. A layup by Williamson with just two second left locked the win for the Aggies and moving their overall season record to 5-2 on the season.

Rekindling the Rivalry: The New Mexico State Aggies derailed the undefeated UTEP Miners 69-68 with a late battle on offense at the Pan American Center on Nov. 28.

Senior transfer Stefanie Gilbreath finished her first Battle of I-10 game with a stellar 22 points to collect a regular-season career high. She went 5-for-8 on three pointers and picking up eight rebounds to match her career-high. Sophomore Danesia Williamson also picked up a career-high with 23 points on the game with a solid 10-of-12 at the line.

NM State bested the Miners shooting 35.6 percent on the night and dropping 10 three point shots to UTEP's five three's.

With the Miners maintaining the lead throughout most of the game, NM State kept the buckets consistent in the second half with a pair of good free shots from Williamson and Elena Holguin near the middle of the perioid. A three by Gilbreath followed by back-to-back layups by Kelsie Rozendaal and one from Weber moved the Aggies within two points of the Miners. A jump shot by Gilbreath tied the game 61-61 for the first time of the night.

Gilbreath also gave NM State the lead 64-63 with a deep three. NM State and UTEP exchanged a couple of three's on their respective sides of the court, but Williamson's work at the free throw line proved to be the necessary tool for the Aggies to earn their first win over the Miners since Nov. 17, 2010.

Sasha's Big Break: Freshman Sasha Weber worked for the best game as an Aggie over the weekend at the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The 6-foot guard helped lift the Aggies to a 2-0 weekend after picking up 13 points in the 55-52 win over George Mason. She followed that up with a career-high 20 points in the championship game versus UC Irvine. Weber was 4-5 behind the three-point arc and had two assists on the night. She also notched new career-highs in three pointers (4) and free throws (6) against the Anteaters. She picked up four points and a rebound in her 16 minutes of play against Rio Grande Rival New Mexico as well. She averaged 12.3 points on 46.2 percent shooting and 2.0 rebounds on the week.

Tournament Champs: The New Mexico State Aggies claimed the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic tournament title with a stellar 50-44 win over UC Irvine on Saturday evening at the Pan American Center. The previous night, the Aggies claimed a 55-52 win over the Patriots of George Mason. With the 2-0 record on the tournament, NM State's Kelsie Rozendaal and Sasha Weber were named to the All-Tournament team. Rozendaal was also selected tournament MVP for her work on the hardwood.

Tough Luck in ABQ: The Lobos took advantage of the points off turnovers in the win over NM State with 19. The Aggies finished the night with similar numbers to New Mexico, but the team just could not find the basket.

The first half opened up with the Lobos taking a 4-0 lead, but sophomore Danesia Williamson downed her first two of 10 baskets of the night. With the Aggies keeping with just those for points until near the nine minute mark, freshman Sasha Weber brought the Aggies back in the game and NM State left the hardwood with 27-20 at the half.

NM State earned the first points of the second half, but struggled to find the basket. A pair of good free throws by senior Kelsie Rozendaal early in the period along with a bucket by Elena Holguin helped move the score for NM State. The Aggies collected a few more points with a layup by sophomore Simone Ruedin and a free basket by Williamson in the middle of the period.

Kelsie Rozendaal combined for seven points and six rebounds on the night, but was 2-for-5 on field goals. Williams and Stefanie Gilbreath each had 10 buckets on the night, going 4-for-16 and 4-for-15, respectively.


Scouting UTEP: The Miners go into the rivalry game with a 6-1 overall record - the team's only loss is product of last week's I-10 rivalry game at the Pan American Center when the Aggies knocked off the Miners 69-68. UTEP was led by Kristine Vitola before injury took her off the hardwood. Currently, Kayla Thorton's 14.6 points on average is tops for the Miners with 102 on the season. She has started each of UTEP's seven games and has 57 rebounds. Anete Steinberga is not far behind with her 13.9 point average on the season. She is a treat at the line, shooting 73.1 percent. Last season, the Miners finished with a 29-4 overall record and earned a berth to the NCAA tournament.

Series History Versus the Miners: The Wednesday game marks the 82nd meeting between the I-10 rivals. UTEP and NM State first met in 1973 with a 58-37 win for the Aggies during their inaugural season. More recently, NM State was swept during the 2011-12 season by the Miners. Taking a 76-72 win in overtime in Las Cruces, UTEP prevailed at home with a much larger margin of 63-27 over NM State. The 27 points for NM State tied for the fewest points scored by an Aggie team in program history. (versus New Mexico 12/21/04) All time, NM State holds a 49-32 record over the Miners.

** UTEP's program did not officially begin until 1974-75.

Trakh Signs Five to NLI: Head coach Mark Trakh announces that five high school players have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Aggies in the fall of 2013. Trakh is in his second season with NM State and has led the Aggies to a 1-0 start to the 2012-13 season.

Joining the Aggies in 2013 are Tamera Williams of Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nev.), Brianna Freeman of Harker Heights High School (Killeen, Texas), Vanessa Garner of Archbishop Mitty High School (Milpitas, Calif.), Moriah Mack of Reagan High School (San Antonio, Texas), and Brandee Walton of St. Mary's High School (Phoenix, Az.)

Aggie Returners Earn Academic All-WAC: The 2011-12 Academic All-WAC women's basketball was announced in the spring. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have completed at least one academic year, have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's contests. The following is a list of the five winter sport honorees from the women's basketball squad: Chrissy Fletcher, Jr., Malia Magazzeni, Jr., Kelsie Rozendaal, Sr., Kaitlyn Soto, Sr., Tabytha Wampler, Sr.

Fresh Faces for Trakh: Head coach Mark Trakh brings on a slew of newcomers for the 2012-13 campaign. Among the new Aggies are transfers Stefanie Gilbreath and Denesia Williamson. Gilbreath joins the Aggie squad after spending four seasons with USC. Gilbreath sat out three seasons with the Trojans due to knee injuries, but played in each of USC's 30 games in 2011-12. Williamson wears the Crimson after one season with University of San Diego. The 5-6 guard averaged 5.1 points, 1.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game with the Toreros.

Along with the two transfers, Trakh also adds five other players to the roster. Las Cruces native, Elena Holguin, comes in after redshirting her freshman season. Three-point threat, Alexis Nelson, joins the Aggies after breaking the single-season record for three pointers with 60 during her senior campaign at Aurora High School in Aurora, Ill. Abby Scott (Madras, Ore.), Sasha Weber (Lacey, Wash.) and Shay Young (San Diego, Calif.) round out the newcomers for NM State. 

Last Season: Under the helm of first-year head coach, Mark Trakh, the Aggies finished the 2011-12 season with a 6-24 overall season record. This left NM State with a 3-11 Western Athletics Conference record. The Aggies made an appearance at the WAC Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (3/7). The Aggies were seeded eighth in the tournament but were quickly booted out by No. 1 66-58 State.

Senior guard Tabitha Wampler was the most recent Aggie to join the 1,000 Point Club with a career 1,254 points (2008-12). She joins former teammates Danisha Corbett and Madison Spence along with Aggie great Anita Maxwell (2,601) and Andrea Kabwasa (1,788).

Another highlight for the Aggies in 2011-12 was coach Trakh coaching his 500th game of his career as a Division I head coach. In his 17th year on the sidelines, the floor general notched the milestone against Hawai'i in Las Cruces Feb. 16.

Preseason Accolades: The Western Athletic Conference coaches and media picked NM State to finish eighth and ninth in their respective preseason polls, and senior guard Stefanie Gilbreath was named an All-WAC preseason pick.

The Aggies were picked sixth in last season's preseason polls. NM State finished 6-24 overall and 3-11 in the conference to place in eighth. The eighth place rank gave the Aggies a tough battle against top-ranked Fresno State in the 2012 WAC Championships. The Bulldogs defeated the Aggies 66-58, knocking NM State out of the tournament.

Reigning first team All-WAC honoree Christensen was voted Preseason Player of the Year and is the on the preseason All-WAC first team. Joining her on the first team are Alyssa Charlston of Idaho, Louisiana Tech's Whitney Frazier, Diamond Ford of Texas State and Seattle U's Kacie Sowell. 

Historical Season:

-- The 2012-13 season marks the 40th season of Aggie women's basketball. The first season was 1973-74. 

-- This season also marks 25 years since the Aggies last NCAA tournament appearance.  The 1987-88 team was the last in program history to receive an NCAA berth. 

Potential Aggie Milestones:

-- With 11 victories during the 2012-13 season, NM State will reach its 600th win in program history. Currently, the Aggies are 593-526 all-time.

Aggies Host 16 Games This Season: The Aggies' 17 home games at the Pan American Center is the fifth time in six seasons NM State plays host to more than 15 contests. Along with this year's ledger, here are the prior four season slates with 16-plus games in Las Cruces including a school-record 18 games last year in 2009-10.

‹ New Mexico State Women's Basketball

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