LAS VEGAS, NEV. – After a commanding first-half lead over the No. 1 seeded Idaho Vandals, the fifth-seeded New Mexico State women’s basketball team fell 75-65 in the semifinals game of the 2014 WAC Tournament on Friday, March 14. NM State ended the season 11-20 overall.
The Aggies shot 46 percent in the first half with sophomore Sasha Weber shooting 5-for-5 from range and leading the team with 15 points. She ended the game with 16, while junior Danesia Williamson found a second-half jolt to score 16 of her 26 points after the intermission.
Sophomore Abby Scott scored in double figures for NM State as well. Defensively, freshmen Tyler Ellis and Brianna Freeman each had 10 boards, while the team finished with 39 to the Vandals 49 grabs. The Aggies shot 37 percent on the game and Idaho finished shooting 38 percent.
NM State outscored the Vandals in the first half 41-35, but were stopped in the second period and held to just 24 points. The team’s first bucket of the second half did not sink until nine minutes.
The Aggies went up early on the Vandals as Scott hit three free shot for an 8-3 lead in the first five minutes of the game. NM State controlled the ball as Weber hit four consecutive three’s to get up 17-7 on Idaho.
The Vandals came back with a small run to make it 21-15, but NM State had an answer for the run with nine unanswered before Idaho rattled in another. Idaho got within five of the Aggies in the final three minutes, but NM State’s shooting from beyond the arc held the lead. A three put the Vandals within three of the Aggies, but Williamson closed the half with a six-point lead 41-35.
To start the second half, Idaho got the first five points to quickly get within one point of the Aggies. A three by WAC Player of the Year Stacey Barr gave UI its first lead of the game 43-41. The Vandals made a 13-point run to start the second half before NM State was able to hit its first bucket of the half.
It took NM State until the 11:23 mark to move the score. Down 50-41, Scott hit a deep shot to get the Aggies within six of the Vandals and opening a 9-2 run to make it a 53-50 ball game. A steal and an uncontested layup by Williamson got NM State within one point and increased the run to 11-2.
Idaho held onto the lead for the rest of the game and led by as much as 12 after Alyssa Charlston grabbed a defensive rebound and then sank two from the line for Idaho. The Aggies battled with Williamson hitting five of NM State’s final seven points of the game as Idaho claimed a place in the WA Championship for Saturday and ended the Aggies season with a 75-65 loss.
NM State ends the year 11-20 overall with a 7-9 WAC record. Williamson led the team with an average of 21.5 points in her 22 games. She scored 30 or more points in five different contests and scored in double figures in 21 of her games.