ARLINGTON, Texas - The New Mexico State women's basketball team played two different halves in Arlington, Saturday evening but prevailed with a 72-66 win over UT-Arlington. NM State improves to 14-15 overall and 7-11 in WAC play, while UTA falls to 7-22 on the year and 4-14 in conference play.
Stefanie Gilbreath led NM State with 25 points and 10 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the season, while Kelsie Rozendaal added 16 points and 15 boards, her seventh double-double of the year. Danesia Williamson and Camila Rosen each added 12 points.
As a team, The Aggies shot 38 percent from the floor and out rebounded UTA, 50-38 on the night.
NM State came out of the locker room the second half a little sluggish but with 16:21 left in the game held on to a 14 point lead at 43-29. UTA continued to chip away at the NM State lead, cutting what was 14 point lead down to seven points with 14:27 to go in the game, at 45-38.
UTA put together a 20-6 run to open the second half, tying the game at 45-45 with 12:34 remaining in the game. The Mavericks tied the game again with 9:29 left in the game at 48 all.
UTA took their first lead at 50-48 but it was just lived as Weber hit a 3-0oint to give NM State a 51-50 lead with 8:14 to go in the game. The Mavericks then scored three straight points to take a 54-51 with 7:50 left. Gilbreath tied the game at 54-54 after making 1-of-2 free throws.
Another pair of free throws for UTA made it 56-54 with 6:27 remaining in the game but Williamson answered to tie the score. Just seconds later Williamson was fouled and went to the line, making 1-of-2, as NM State held a 57-56 lead.
Out of the under four minute media timeout, NM State's Rozendaal hit a lay-up to give NM State the lead back. She then hit 1-of-2 free throws as the Aggies lead 61-58 with 2:56 remaining in the game.
Gilbreath then nailed a 3-point basket to give the Aggies a four point lead at 64-60, as she scored her 25th point of the game. UTA cut the lead to one at 64-63 with a 1:19 to go in the game. Rozendaal then made a 3-point play the hard way giving NM State a 67-63 lead with under a minute to go.
Two free throws by UTA made it a two point game with 50 seconds remaining. Williamson was then fouled with 21 seconds to go and stepped to line. She missed the first free throw but made the second, giving the Aggies a three point lead at 68-65.
The Mavericks forced a shot with 9 seconds to go and Williamson was fouled, sending her back to the line. She would hit both, putting the game out of reach at 70-65. Despite some late free throws by both teams, NM State defeated UTA, 72-66.
Each team had a lot of good looks at the basket in the first six minutes of the contest, as the game remained tied at 5-5 with 14:11 left in the first half. Gilbreath opened the Aggie coring with a deep 3-pointer, followed by a Rosen offensive rebound and put back, which told the story of the Aggie offense.
A 4-0 run put the Aggies up 9-5 with 11:49 to go in the half. Rosen recorded a huge defensive block spark the Aggie run. NM State extended the lead to 13-5, as Rosen and Gilbreath had supplied all the Aggies points.
The Aggies continued to put the pressure on UTA with a 16-2 run as NM State led 21-7, with 7:41 to go in the half. UTA picked up a little momentum over the next three minutes but the Aggies would get a bucket when needed as NM State maintained a double-digit lead at 30-18 with 3:24 left in the first half.
The Aggies would wrap up the half with a strong push, taking a 14 point lead into the locker room at 39-25.
Gilbreath led the Aggies with 14 points, including seven boards, followed by Rosen, whose 11 points is the most in the first half this season. She also added four boards and a block. Rozendaal had seven rebounds and four points. As a team, NM State out rebounded UTA, 30-17 with only three turnovers. The Aggies shot 39 percent from the field, while holding UTA to 27 percent from the floor.
NM State will face UT-Arlington in the first round of the 2013 WAC Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, March 12, beginning at 3:30 p.m. (MT) The Aggies will be the No. 8 seed, while UTA will hold the No. 9 seed.