LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the 2013 season at home after an 84-81 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday, Nov. 30, to end the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The Aggies move to 3-4 on the season.
NM State still saw four score in double figures and freshman Brianna Freeman earned her first career double-double. Freeman had 15 points on the game and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Sasha Weber led the team with 16 points. Junior September Offutt had 14 points and freshman Moriah Mack had 10 on the day.
The Aggies shot 52.7 percent as a team and had 37 rebounds to the Panthers 35. The Aggies did have more turnovers (16-13), but held Milwaukee to a 47.4 shooting percentage.
NM State saw 21 points come off the bench and outscored the Panthers 26-14 from inside the paint.
Milwaukee lit up the board first with a three, but freshman Vanessa Garner tied it up with her first three of the game. NM State took over the lead with solid shooting from Garner and Freeman in the first five minutes of play.
The Aggies went on a small eight-point run, but the Panthers came back with nine unanswered to earn the lead. The teams traded possessions and points, but the game stayed knotted for much of the game.
With just over five minutes on the clock, Milwaukee was up by four when redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin hit a three and a free shot to tie the score at 28. With the Panthers in possession, Offutt got the rebound and hit a layup and Freeman sank a three to take the lead.
NM State stayed on top until the 1:12 mark when Milwaukee tied things once again with a free throw. Freeman did not hesitate to give NM State the lead back with a three from the top of the arc. The Aggies held onto the lead 43-40 as the clock ran down no the half.
NM State shot 51 percent as a team from the floor in the opening half with Freeman leading all shooters with 13 points. The freshman was 3-4 from three-point range, while Offutt led on defense with six rebounds.
Milwaukee was shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and two players scored in double figures. The Aggies outrebounded the Panthers 23-17, but Milwaukee had six points off turnovers to the Aggies five.
In the second half, NM State took control of the ball with a 50-44 lead in the first three minutes. Milwaukee came back and tied the game at 51 apiece near the 15-minute mark before a long three from the right side by Abby Scott pushed the Aggies back ahead 54-53.
The teams traded baskets back and forth, but Milwaukee drove ahead of the Aggies 71-64. The seven-point advantage marked the Panthers largest of the game at that point. NM State broke the lead with a pair of good free shots by Offutt and a three by Weber.
Weber hit a jumper from the right side, closing the gap to just two points going into the final media timeout of the game. The Aggies tied the nail biter at 75 with a shot by Tyler Ellis and Weber pushed NM State ahead with just 2:20 in the clock.
The Panthers hit a three, but two points from the line by Freeman put NM State up 79-78. Milwaukee answered with two free throws of its own and then sank four more for an 82-79 lead.
In the final seconds, Offutt hit a layup, but two free shots by the Panthers ran out the clock to end the game with the Aggies first home loss of the season, 84-81.
NM State now looks to rekindle the I-10 rivalry series with UTEP at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Pan American Center.