LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State Aggies ran past Western New Mexico 75-60 in Saturday night’s exhibition game. With no seniors on the court, NM State saw two freshmen and two sophomores lead the pack with a combined 58 points.
Redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin had 12 points in her season debut, but it was freshman Moriah Mack and sophomore Abby Scott that led all scorers with 16 points each on the night. The Aggies finished shooting 32.4 percent from the floor and saw freshman Vanessa Garner earn her first double-digit scoring game as an Aggie with 14 points.
Offutt put NM State on the board first with her first bucket as an Aggie. Two free throws by freshman Mack helped the Aggies to a quick 4-0 lead before the Mustangs lit up the board off a free shot.
The teams continued to go back and forth until Scott hit a three from the corner of the arc to push the Aggies ahead of WNMU 11-7 with 14 minutes to go in the opening half.
WNMU got within two before a layup by Offutt increased the Aggie lead. It did not last long as the Mustangs tied the game 16-16. NM State pulled away briefly, by the Mustangs earned their first lead of the game with a bucket from Veronica Celaya.
The Aggies regained the lead off a three by freshman Vanessa Garner, who finished the game with 14 points and four rebounds.
“We are really happy with Moriah Mack and Vanessa Garner. Our point guard play tonight was really good and it was nice to see those two combine for more than 30 points tonight,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “Abby (Scott) was also really good and September (Offutt) was great tonight. We had a lot of open shots tonight and some good rebounding by Brandee Walton.”
The Aggies kept the lead throughout the remainder of the half and held the Mustangs to just five points in the final five minutes of the period.
NM State ended the half with a 10-point lead (38-28) over the Mustangs and Scott leading all scorers with 10 points. She had four rebounds and was 2-2 at the line in the opening half. Mack and Vanessa Garner each had seven points at the end of the period and Offutt led defensively with five rebounds.
WNMU closed the gap and got within four of the Aggies to start the second half. NM State saw three more players break into double-digit scoring with a successful second half.
Two free shots by Mack got the Aggies on track after allowing eight points by WNMU. A pair of three’s by junior Elena Holguin helped NM State increase the lead back to 10 with just over 15 minutes on the clock.
The teams traded points for the next several minutes until NM State was able to break away for a 62-46 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. The Aggies finished a 12-point run that lasted more than six minutes and left WNMU scoreless until the 5:33 mark on the clock.
The Mustangs returned on the run, not allowing the Aggies to score for the final four and a half minutes and scoring 14 points of their own.
“We are going to get in and work on some free throws but overall it was very good. We had first-game jitters, which is expected of a young team but I think when we calm down and start getting what we want, we are going to be really good,” Trakh said.
The team did not sink a basket until Offutt broke up the drought with a free throw with a minute and a half left in the game. WNMU answered the free throw with a three from the right side of the arc and continued with a layup inside the paint. The Mustangs sank one more bucket to end the game with the Aggie win 75-60.
The Aggies officially open the 2013-14 season at UTEP on Nov. 12, at 7:05 p.m.