It’s Rivalry Week for the Aggies. First, NM State rekindles of the Battle of I-10 against UTEP on Tuesday before traveling to meet in-state rival New Mexico on Saturday. The Aggies and Miners tip off at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 in the Pan American Center. UTEP took the first meeting 94-69 in El Paso. NM State then makes the trip north for the lone meeting with the Lobos this season. The Dec. 7 tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at The Pit.
Tuesday’s game against UTEP is set to be broadcast on AggieVision, Altitude, ALT2, CSN-Houston and FS-Arizona (Tape Delay 11 p.m.). Due to scheduling conflicts, the Rio Grande Rivalry game with New Mexico will not be broadcast. Live stats for both games are available at NMStateSports.com.
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Want to stay connected with Aggie Athletics when you can’t make it to the Pan Am? Follow us on Twitter @NMStateAthletics and on Facebook at “NMSU Athletics” for the most up-to-date info on the games going on. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #AggieUp to get linked into the conversation.
The Aggies get a week off before heading to California to meet UC Irvine on Dec. 18. The team then makes the short trip to face Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 23.
NM State went 1-1 on the weekend while hosting the 2013 Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The team picked up a 77-73 win over Northern Illinois on Friday and ended the weekend with an 84-81 loss to Milwaukee. Sophomore Sasha Weber led the Aggies, averaging 17 points a game on the weekend, while freshman Brianna Freeman picked up her first career double-double on Saturday with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
UTEP starts the season 6-0 – a record that includes a 94-69 win over the Aggies. Kayla Thornton leads the Miners with 16 points on average. She is also best defensively, averaging 8.5 boards a contest. Thornton is the only Miner averaging in double figures, however. The team is averaging just over 80 points a game, shooting 43.6 percent as a team.
The Miners and the Aggies have met 84 times in NM State program history. The Aggies hold the series 50-34 all time while splitting the two meetings of 2012. UTEP won the first meeting of 2013, 94-69, in El Paso.
The Lobos are 3-4 this season and have a team-shooting percentage of .371. The Lobos are led by Antiesha Brown, who averages 15.6 points a game and 4.6 rebounds. She shoots 46.3 percent from the floor and has 11 steals this season. Two other Lobos score in double figures. The team won its season opener against Loyola Marymount and picked up its second win of the season against Milwaukee (the Aggies lost to both teams). During their Thanksgiving tournament, the Lobos earned their most recent win against Southeast Missouri 73-55.
The Lobos and the Aggies have met 71times in program history with the Lobos winning the series 46-25. Last season NM State fell in both meetings,. The first came in Albuquerque when the Aggies dropped 60-37. When New Mexico made its way to the Pan American Center, the team ran over the Aggies 68-44. The last time NM State beat its northern rival was on Dec. 2 2007, when the Aggies picked up a 58-42 win. The Lobos have won the last 11 meetings.
Weber finished the weekend averaging 17 points during the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. She scored 18 for the Aggies in the win over Northern Illinois, marking a season high for the sophomore. She came back the next day to sink 16 points in the 84-81 loss to Milwaukee. Weber shot 50 percent from the floor on Friday and finished the weekend with an average of 5.5 rebounds a game. The Lacey, Wash., native led the team in scoring both days and her seven rebounds against NIU was also a season high.
Freeman Starts the Doubles
Freshman Brianna Freeman is the first Aggie to earn a double-double this season. She had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Aggie loss to Milwaukee (84-81) during the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The double-double was the first of Freeman’s young career as an Aggie.
Garner Starting Hot
Vanessa Garner finished her debut week for NM State with a team-high 19.7 points in the first week for the Aggies. She has scored in double figures in five games this season, making her the leading scorer for NM State. She is averaging 14.1 points per game and set a new career high 26 points in the loss to Loyola Marymount in November.
Las Cruces Native Steps Up
Redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin scored a season high 19 points at Cal Poly and then 18 in the Aggies 88-56 win over Eastern New Mexico (Nov. 18 and 21). Prior to her double-figure scoring days, Holguin averaged less than 10 points a game and saw a career best of just five points.
The Aggies, starting two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior newcomer, are among the youngest starting lineups in the country. Boise State is starting three sophomores and two freshmen.
NM State returns two starters from last year and look for replace senior starters Stefanie Gilbreath and Kelsie Rozendaal. Sophomores Abby Scott and Sasha Weber stand as the top returners for the Aggies. Weber returns after starting 24 games, averaging 8.5 points per game, posting 59 assists to go along with the top field goal percentage among the returners. Scott started nine games for the Aggies and averaged 4.7 points per contest. Other Aggies returning for the 2013-14 season include junior Simone Ruedin and redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin.
The Aggies ended the 2012-13 season with a 15-16 overall record and 7-11 in WAC play. The season was highlighted by wins over defending Conference USA champion UTEP (69-68) and WAC-leading Utah State (106-94) late in the season. NM State ended the year with a second round loss to top-seeded Seattle U in the WAC Tournament. NM State went into the tournament as the eighth seed and fell 77-53.
The Aggies were selected to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference media and coaches’ preseason polls. Sophomore guard Sasha Weber was picked as a second-team selection in both polls. This comes after being noted as the top returner for the Aggies with 24 starts and 8-5 points per contest.