LAS CURCES, N.M. (Dec. 31) - New Mexico State's women's basketball team claimed its first Western Athletic Conference win with a 71-67 defeat over Louisiana Tech on Monday, Dec. 31. The Aggies earned their first win since the 2007-08 season over the Lady Techsters in the Pan American Center, moving the overall record to 7-5, 1-1 in conference play.
Four Aggies broke into the double digits on the night with Stefanie Gilbreath leading the team with 18 points, going 7-of-14 from the floor. The senior tallied 14 of those points in the first half and was just shy of her second double-double with eight rebounds. Fellow senior Kelsie Rozendaal picked up 14 points in the evening while Danesia Williamson and Sasha Weber collected 11 and 12, respectively.
The Aggies shot 45.6 percent from the field and picked up 12 second-chance points from their 37 rebounds. Rozendaal helped the team with seven of those rebounds, while Williamson and Weber each tallied five.
"We played really well tonight," head coach Mark Trakh said. "It is great to see that we had that many players in the double digits. I was impressed with the team's performance of the team tonight and it's a good team to get a win from."
The Aggies opened the night with a 9-0 lead over the Lady Techsters within the first minutes of play. Freshman Abby Scott led things off for the Aggies with a three pointer, marking the sixth game the Aggies have opened with points behind the three-point line. LA Tech came back with a pair of three-point shots before NM State worked its way in with a layup from Rozendaal.
The Aggies kept their momentum as Gilbreath sank her first three ball of the night to move the Aggies up 14-8. Another couple of baskets from the senior helped the team to a 13 point lead with 10:24 on the clock. NM State kept control of the half with two field goals from junior Jasmine Rutledge along with a three-point shot from Scott and fellow Weber.
Gilbreath closed the half for the Aggies with a layup, earning her 14 points on the half, while going 6-of-10 from the field. The Aggies shot an even 50 percent in the first period, leading the hardwood with a 35-29 lead over LA Tech. NM State forced 10 turnovers, and finished the half even matched with LA Tech's 19 rebounds.
The second half started in favor of the Lady Techsters as they quickly moved the score within two points off a pair of three's from Lulu Perry, but NM State wasted little time before Rozendaal earned the first Aggie layup of the half and followed that up with a couple of free shots, keeping NM State ahead 39-35 early in the second period.
Freshman Shay Young helped the Aggies along with her first basket of the game which gave the Aggies some spark as Elena Holguin and Rutledge each collected a field goal, moving the Aggies ahead by eight in the middle of the second half.
NM State picks up its third win all-time against Louisiana Tech, each of those coming at the Pan American Center. The Aggies gear up for their first road matchup against UTSA on Thursday, Dec. 3 in San Antonio. NM State then makes the short drive to meet Texas State on Saturday, Dec. 5.