NM State is set to host the 2013 edition of the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic, marking the seventh season of the holiday tournament. The Aggies welcome Milwaukee, Northern Illinois and Lamar Nov. 29-30. The Aggies first meet Northern Illinois at 11 a.m. on Nov. 29, then finished the weekend with a 1 p.m. tip-off against Milwaukee at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30.
The games will not be broadcast this weekend due to scheduling conflicts, but live stats are always available at NMStateSports.com.
Staying Connected #AggieUp
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.
Up next for NM State is the rekindling of the Battle of I-10 against UTEP. 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.
The Aggies saw the work of its freshmen class help the Aggies to an 88-56 win over Eastern New Mexico on Thursday, Nov. 21. The Aggies improve to 2-3 on the season with three Aggies scoring in double figures Redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin was just one point shy of matching her career high with 18 points in the game, while freshman Vanessa Garner tallied 17 and junior September Offutt scored 11. Each of Offutt’s points came in the second half. She had eight rebounds on the night with seven on the offensive side of the ball.
Seventh Annual Thanksgiving Classic
The weekend marks the seventh time the Aggies host the Thanksgiving tournament. Though it has not always been sponsored by Hotel Encanto, the tournament has been a mainstay in the City of Las Cruces for several years.
NIU comes into the weekend with a 2-2 record, but are 0-2 on the road. The team is led by Amanda Corral with 12.3 points on average. She is one of just two averaging in double figures. The team is averaging just 59.2 points a game and shooting 36 percent from the field.
The teams have met just twice in program history and split the 1-1 record. NM State won the last meeting 60-55, but the teams have not met since 2003.
Milwaukee is just 1-3 this season but is led by Angela Rodriguez with 17.8 points a game. Four players average in double figures, while Avyanna Young has 15.3 a game; she also manages to average 9.5 rebounds a game. The team is sitting on a 70 point average and sitting on a 40 percent average from the floor.
This is the first meeting between the teams.
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. Despite a 1-2 record for the week, the freshman was perfect from the line in her first two appearances and set a new standard for herself with a career-high 26 points in the Aggies loss to LMU on Saturday. Garner was 6-11 from the field in that game and finished the week with 50-percent shooting from the arc.
Las Cruces Native Steps Up
In the last two games, redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin have scored a season high 19 points and then 18 in the Aggies 88-56 win over Eastern New Mexico. 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.