LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Nov. 12) - The New Mexico State women's basketball team trilled the crowd with an overtime victory over the Lions of Loyola Marymount, 77-76, on Monday evening at the Pan American Center.
Sophomore transfer Danesia Williamson locked the score at 69-69 with less than 30 seconds to play in the game. The 5-6 guard notched 19 points on the night. She paved the way for senior Kelsie Rozendaal to give the Aggies the 77-76 advantage with two free shots in the final five seconds of overtime. Rozendall's shots at the line earned her a career-high 22 points, while shooting 8-13 in the season opener. She also notched her first double-double of the year with 11 rebounds.
Williamson and Rozendaal were accompanied by senior Stefanie Gilbreath and junior Jasmine Rutledge in double-digit points. Gilbreath and Rutledge each earned 12 points on the evening with Gilbreath going 5-6 at the line and Rutledge collecting eight boards.
"Kelsie (Rozendaal) is a tough kid," head coach Mark Trakh said. "Her back is finally healed, and you can tell the difference. She made a difference tonight."
Williamson started things off early with a three-pointer and three buckets in the first four minutes of play. She managed nine points in the first half alone. She was 4-5 from the line and helped the Aggies to an overall 42.3 shooting percentage in the first 20 minutes of play.
Loyola Marymount went on an eight point run in the middle of the half, giving the Lions their first lead of the half 22-21. After trading shots back and forth, a deep pass by Sasha Weber to Rutledge gave the Aggies the lead once again 28-27 with 3:53 left in the first half. Two free shots made by sophomore Simone Ruedin tied the score for NM State at 30 with less than three minutes to play in the half. LMU answered back with seven straight late in the half to gain a 37-30 lead and close out the half. Ruedin earned three steals on the game, a career high for the sophomore.
The second half opened with Williamson maintaining her game when she downed a triple. The Aggies kept their momentum with a shot by Gilbreath, moving the score to an even 35 in the first minute. Trouble on defense resulted in the Lions picking the lead back up to 44-37 before the first timeout. The Aggies earned 46 total rebounds on the night, but allowed 28 turnovers in the win.
"We can't afford to give easy points up this year," Trakh said, "but, unlike last year, we scored easy points too. And how many easy points did we get last year? None, all year."
Back to back shots by Rozendaal cut the Lions lead to 49-46 early in the half. Rozendaal sank a long ball just shy of the three-point arc, and came back to get her three on the next possession.
An eight point run by the Aggies in the middle of the period cinched the LMU lead to just one point and A pair of free shots and one from behind the three-point line by Gilbreath followed by a bucket from Rutledge helped give the Aggie their first lead of the second half.
As a team NM State managed to shoot 48.4 percent on the night and went perfect from the line 6-6.
The Aggies make their first road trip to Santa Barbara, Calif., to face the Gouchos of UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, Nov, 14. The game will be available on the Aggie Sports Network, KTSM AM 570. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (MST).