Aggies Visit Utah State Thursday
The New Mexico State women's basketball team (11-15, 5-7 WAC) visits third-place Utah State (14-11, 8-4 WAC) Thursday night on the first leg of its final road trip of the regular season. NM State closes out trip with a game at fourth-place Nevada Saturday afternoon.
The game will be broadcast live on the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KGRT 103.9 FM. Periodic live updates via Twitter are available by following @NMStateAggies. Links to live stats can be found on NMStateSports.com.
The Aggies come into the game against the northern Aggies after a 65-55 setback at home to second-place Fresno State on Monday. Last week, NM State dismantled San Jose State 54-29 on Feb. 17 to snap a four-game losing skid. The Aggies dropped a 57-52 contest at home to Hawai''i on Feb. 15.
Since a 75-71 loss in Las Cruces on Jan. 22, Utah State has won six of seven games to move into sole possession of third place in the WAC. Last time out, USU earned a 67-51 road win at Idaho on Saturday.
Game to be Aired on KGRT 103.9 FM
The women's game this Thursday moves across the dial and will be broadcast live on the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KGRT 103.9 FM with Kyle Doperalski. Periodic live updates via Twitter are available by following @NMStateAggies
Inside the Series
NM State leads the all-time series between the schools, 18-11. The Crimson and White defeated USU 75-71 in Las Cruces on Jan. 22 earlier this season.
In 2010, NM State edged USU in Logan 56-55 on Jan. 23 before defeating the visiting Aggies 73-54 Feb. 23 in Las Cruces. The schools have traded season sweeps over the last four seasons. NM State swept the series last season and in 2008 while USU posted sweeps in 2009 and 2007. The teams split in 2006, each winning on the opposing court. As a result, each squad has five wins since NM State joined the WAC in 2005.
Prior to 2006, the teams had not met since 1987 when both schools were members of the High Country Athletic Conference. From 1985-, NM State dominated the time both schools were in the HCAC winning five of six contests. The programs initially met as members of the Intermountain Athletic Conference. The long-time foes met once a year in the IAC from 1975-79 and then twice a year from 1980-82.
USU won the first two meetings between the schools but NM State led 6-5 all-time before leaving for the HCAC in 1983. The schools have met just once on a neutral court when NM State defeated Utah State 88-78 on Jan. 16, 1982 in the Wyoming Dial Classic in Laramie.
Scouting the Aggies
The Utah State Aggies (14-11, 8-4) of the WAC have won six of seven since opening league play 2-3. USU rattled off five straight conference wins after its loss in Las Cruces before falling at Fresno State on Feb. 12. The northern Aggies have recovered impressively from an 0-4 start to the season.
Utah State ranks No. 23 in the country with 11.6 steals per contest and rank No. 32 with 15.8 assists per game. The Aggies also rank among the top 75 nationally in three other categories: assist-turnover ratio (No. 46 - 0.91), turnover margin (No. 64 - 2.48) and blocks per game (No. 75 - 4.1).
Senior guard Alice Coddington is the reason why USU ranks highly as a team in each statistic. Coddington leads the team in each category and just behind NM State's Jasmine Lowe in steals at 2.6 per game, good for No. 55 in the country. Her 4.3 assists per game ranks No. 93 nationally and second in the WAC. Sophomore forward Devyn Christensen ranks second behind NM State's Tabytha Wampler in the WAC in free throw percentage at 86.7 percent to rate No. 21 nationally. Sophomore Banna Diop ranks No. 68 nationally in blocks with 1.8 per game.
The blue Aggies score 67.4 points per while shooting 41.9 percent from the field. USU allows 68.4 points per game and 42.7 percent shooting from the floor.
Junior transfer forward Ashlee Brown leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points per. Brown also leads the team in rebounding with 8.6 boards per game, putting her averages close to a double-double performance each tie out. Christensen adds 11.3 points per game.
Coddington has started all 25 games for USU this season alongside, sophomore guard Jenna Johnson and sophomore center Banna Diop.
Last Time against the Aggies
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A season-high 23 points from Madison Spence along with 21 points from Danisha Corbett paved the way for a 75-71 victory by the New Mexico State women's basketball team over Utah State inside the Pan American Center Saturday evening.
The senior guard tandem caught fire midway through the first half, combining for 19 straight points over 12 of the final 13 minutes of the first half - sparking a 14-0 NM State run. A pair of threes from redshirt junior Erica Sanchez bookended the seniors' rally.
NM State led at halftime by three, 34-31, but the second half saw multiple lead changes and ties, totaling 15 of each by game's end. Utah State built its largest lead of the game of seven, 58-51, at the 8:34 mark of the second half but Spence and Corbett nailed back-to-back threes to cut the lead back down to one point just 49 seconds later.
It stayed a one-possession game until the 1:14 mark when NM State ended a 6-0 run consisting of four free throws from junior Tabytha Wampler and a pair of foul shots from Spence for a 72-67 lead. USU cut the lead to three with 24.3 seconds left but Wampler and Spence secured the win at the free throw line with three makes down the stretch.
NM State shot 46.2 percent in the game, its best percentage since Nov. 27 against Northern Iowa. Utah State made good on 42.9 percent of its shots. The Crimson and White edged USU 33-31 on the glass. The home Aggies made 10 three-point shots including five by Corbett and three from Spence.
The freshman duo of Jasmine Rutledge and Andrea Chenier sparked a top-notch defensive effort by NM State in the second half playing 15 and 13 minutes, respectively after the break. Rutledge scored a bucket and newcomer Ariella McGhee scored four in six minutes off the bench in the second half.
NM State improves to 9-10 overall and 3-2 in the WAC after the win while Utah State drops to 2-3 in the league and 8-10 overall with the loss.
Utah State opened the game at 4-0 but a bucket from Wampler and a three from Spence gave NM State its first lead at 5-4. USU took back the lead but could not extend it beyond four over the first 10 minutes of the game.
NM State took command of the game at the 9:46 mark as Spence and Corbett kicked off a 14-0 run of their own, part of 19 straight tallies for the home team by the duo over the next nine minutes. At the end of the run, NM State led 28-18 for its largest lead of the game at 4:42 of the first half.
Utah State countered immediately with an 11-3 run over the next 3:36 to knot the game at 31-31, but a late three by Sanchez provided a three-point cushion for NM State going into halftime.
At the half Spence accounted for 14 and Corbett 10 of NM State's 34 points. Rutledge led everyone on the glass with five rebounds. NM State shot 38.7 percent while USU made 40 percent of its shots before the break. NM State led 21-17 on the boards. The Aggies forced nine USU turnovers and committed eight in the first 20 minutes.
Corbett continued her scoring tear to open the second half with five straight points for NM State to push the lead to 39-36 just 90 seconds in. USU rallied to take the lead minutes later.
The teams would then battle for the lead over the next six minutes in a one-possession ball game that saw five ties over that span. USU went on a 9-2 run midway through the half behind five points from junior forward Ashlee Brown for its largest lead of the game of 58-51 with 8:34 left.
Spence and Corbett responded with heroic back-to-back threes to bring it back to a one-possession game until NM State rallied in the final three minutes for the win.
Brown led Utah State with 19 points while sophomore guard Devyn Christensen added 13. Senior guard Alice Coddington posted 11 points and shared the team's rebound lead with five caroms.
- In the latest release of the NCAA rankings this season on March 20, NM State ranks in the top 100 of 333 Division I schools in four of 18 statistical categories. The Aggies commit just 15.4 turnovers per game this year to rank No. 43 in the country. NM State's turnover margin of +2.7 stands at No. 58 in the nation while the Aggie free throw percentage rates No. 72 nationally (72.0 percent). The Crimson and White rank No. 90 in three-point field goals made at 6.1.
- Senior guard Jasmine Lowe leads the WAC with 2.8 steals a game and rates No. 32 nationally.
- Junior forward Tabytha Wampler leads the WAC in free throw percentage at 87.1 this season and ranks No. 20 in the country.
- On the hardwood, NM State averages 65.2 points per game while shooting a 37.6 field goal percentage. The Aggies hold foes to 67.4 points per game and a 40.2 percent clip from the floor.
- The Aggies are alone in sixth place in the WAC at 5-7 one-half game behind Idaho in fifth.
- Senior Madison Spence moved into eighth on the NM State all-time top-10 scoring list last week. She boasts a current total of 1,403 points.
- Wampler boasts six double-doubles this season including her last double dip versus San Jose State on Feb. 17 with 16 points and 12 boards.
- Four Aggies are averaging double figures this season: Madison Spence (14.6 ppg); Jasmine Lowe (13.1 ppg), Tabytha Wampler (12.2) and Danisha Corbett (10.5).
- The Aggies lead the WAC with just 15.4 turnovers per game and stand No. 43 nationally.
- NM State ranks second in the WAC and No. 72 nationally in free throw percentage at 72.0 percent from the foul line.
- NM State is 9-3 when scoring over 65 points this season.
- The Aggies are 6-3 when holding opponents under 65 points this year.
Madison Spence Moves Up All-time Top-10 Scoring List
Last season, senior guard Madison Spence became the 17th Aggie to eclipse the 1,000-point career mark all-time at New Mexico State and is just the seventh player in the program's 37-year history to accomplish the feat prior to her senior year.
On Feb. 7, despite missing five games due to a concussion, Spence moved into the NM State all-time top-10 scoring list. On Feb. 15, Spence posted her first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against Hawai'i. She surpassed the 1,400-point mark with eight tallies against San Jose State on Feb. 17. Spence posted 12 points against Fresno State on Monday to move closer to seventh all-time for 1,415. Spence now trails former teammate Sherell Neal in seventh place by 21 who recorded 1,436 career points.
NM State Top-10 Scoring List (spots 7-8) Point Total Point Margin Ahead of Spence
7. Sherell Neal (2004-2008) 1,436 pts. 21
8. Madison Spence (2007-present) 1,415 pts.
Corbett Poised to Enter Exclusive 1,000-Point Club
Senior guard Danisha Corbett is poised to follow teammate Madison Spence as the next Aggie to score 1,000 points in a career. Corbett currently boasts 991 points and needs just nine tallies this weekend to become just the 18th player to accomplish the feat in program history. Spence entered the list at the end of last season and is currently in eighth all-time. Former Aggie Paulina Blunt (1989-1994) is currently No. 17 on the all-time list with 1,148 points.
After scoring a career 31 points at Boise State Jan. 27, Danisha Corbett became the 17th Aggie in program to history to record a 30-point game. Only eight NM State players boast multiple 30-points games, placing Corbett into a tie for ninth overall. The senior guard now stands tied with current backcourt mate Madison Spence who posted 30 points against Kent State on Nov. 23, 2008, the last Aggie to attain the milestone.
Corbett's 31 points ranks in a tie for 30th all-time in single-game performances. The last NM State player to score 31 or more in a game was Sinnamonn Garrett with 31 points against Idaho State on Dec. 28, 2002.
Additionally, Corbett's career high of seven made three-pointers places her in a five-way tie for second all-time for a single-game performance in program history. NM State Hall of Famer Mari Sanchez holds the all-time record with 10 treys against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 23, 2002. The last Aggie to make seven or more threes in a game was Jenia Dimitrov at New Mexico the following season on Dec. 3, 2002.
Lowe Posts First Career Double-Double in Rare Form
Senior guard Jasmine Lowe posted her first career double-double Jan. 27 at Boise State with 17 points and 11 assists. An assist-point double-double is rare in Aggie history.
Taking into account Lowe's double-dip against the Broncos there have been 117 double-doubles posted by Aggie players since the 1999-2000 season. Junior forward Tabytha Wampler has six of those this season with traditional rebound-point affairs and Madison Spence posted her first double-double this month.
Lowe's feat was just the second time a player has posted an assist-point double-double in 10 seasons. Current NM State Hall of Famer Mari Sanchez accomplished the feat with 10 points and 14 assists against Idaho in a game on Nov. 17, 2001 for her only career double-double. Sanchez was also the last Aggie to dish out 10 assists in a game on the same evening.
Lowe is the team's leading returning scorer from last season and averages 13.1 points per game this season. She leads the WAC in steals per game with 2.8 swipes per game and ranks No. 32 in the country. Lowe has started every game for the Aggies this season and has posted double-digit scoring efforts in all but four contests.
Lowe boasts a team-best 70 steals and 77 assists this year.
Wampler Sinks 23 Straight Free Throws to Open WAC Play
Junior forward Tabytha Wampler made her first 23 free throw attempts of the conference season through the first four games before the streak ended late in the game at Fresno State on Jan. 15. It marked the longest streak of consecutive free throws made by Aggie since NM State Hall of Fame member Judy Phillips made 33 consecutive foul shots during the 1986-87 season.
Wampler's run began with three makes from the foul line at Hawai'i in the conference opener on Jan. 6.
Next on Jan. 8 at San Jose State, Wampler tied the all-time record for free throw percentage by making all 10 of her attempts from the charity stripe. Five other Aggies in program history have sank all 10 attempts in a game including teammate Danisha Corbett who accomplished the feat against Loyola of Chicago on Nov. 28, 2008.
Six more made free throws at home against Nevada on Jan. 12 pushed the streak to 19 in a row heading into the game at Fresno State.
Wampler made her first four attempts against the Bulldogs but missed a pair of late attempts in the final minutes, thus halting the streak at 23.
The Cottonwood, Calif., native has only missed 19 attempts all season. She owns an incredible percentage at the line this year of 86.5 percent on 122-of-141 shooting. That percentage is second in the WAC overall, first among those with more than 100 attempts, and ranks No. 20 in the country.
In addition to her premier free throw shooting, Wampler boasts six double-doubles this season to total eight in her career and has had double-digit scoring in 19 games this year and has started every game for the Aggies.
Spence Boasts 100 Wins at NM State
NM State head coach Darin Spence claimed his 100th victory as the Aggie floor general in a 72-63 win over Northern Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 28 in the Pan American Center. He directed the Aggies to their fourth consecutive Thanksgiving Classic title and improved to 8-0 all time in the event with the victory. Only former coach Karen Fey has more wins coaching the Aggies with 130 victories all-time.
Spence, in his eighth season in Las Cruces, is poised to become the longest-tenured coach in Aggie women's basketball history this year. Last year, Spence moved into second place on the NM State all-time wins list at 95 while guiding the Aggies to 18 victories.
He attained other program milestones in 2009-10 as well. Spence guided the Aggies to just their third win over a ranked team in program history after a 61-60 victory on Jan. 3, 2010. Two of the program's three wins over a ranked team have occurred under Spence.
He earned his 400th career win in a victory against border-rival UTEP, 67-55, in front of a home crowd at the Pan American Center on Dec. 15, 2009. Spence coached his 200th game at NM State at home against Idaho on Jan. 20, 2010. On Feb. 3, 2010 he guided the Aggies to a 68-48 road win at San Jose State in his 600th career game as a head coach.
Spence is the only coach in program history to lead the Aggies to a conference tourney championship game, a feat he accomplished in three straight seasons from 2006-08.
Quartet of Starters Leading the Way
Three NM State starters are averaging double-digits in scoring over the first 26 games of the season: senior guard Madison Spence (14.6 ppg), senior guard Jasmine Lowe (13.1 ppg); junior forward Tabytha Wampler (12.2 ppg) and senior guard Danisha Corbett (10.5 ppg). The quartet also is among the Aggie leaders in average minutes played with Spence leading the way at 31.3; Lowe averages 29.4, Corbett clocks 27.4 minutes on the floor while Wampler plays 24.8 minutes a game. Lowe and Wampler have started each game this season for the Aggies.
Five Aggies have seen action in all 26 games this season while averaging at least 10 minutes per game. One of those players, junior guard Kaitlyn Soto, ranks fifth among active players with 20.2 minutes of play per contest this season.
Rutledge Solidifies Starting Role
Freshman guard Jasmine Rutledge has started all 12 conference games this season for the Aggies and 10 straight contests overall. Rutledge earned her first start on the road at New Mexico Dec. 30; a game after teammate Camila Rosen was lost to the season due to a knee injury. Against the Lobos, the rookie scored three points and grabbed four rebounds while playing solid defense in 29 minutes on the floor.
On Feb. 7 at LA Tech, Rutledge posted a career high 10 points against the Lady Techsters. The effort more than doubled her previous high of four points. The freshman also went 6-of-8 from the line, doubling her made free throws up to that point of the season.
Rutledge solidified her starting role Jan. 15 at Fresno State with a breakout game. She notched several career highs against the Bulldogs including 15 rebounds, four assists and 31 minutes of floor time. After grabbing nine boards versus Utah State on Jan. 22, Rutledge posted her second career double-digit rebound performance with 11 caroms last time out at Idaho on Jan. 29. The freshman posted double-digit boards with 13 against LA Tech on Feb. 13.
The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native ranks second on the team with 117 rebounds this season.
Soto Fills in Nicely
Junior guard Kaitlyn Soto earned five consecutive starts when point guard Madison Spence went out of the lineup with a concussion on Nov. 22. She directed the team on the floor and came within a bucket of her career high in points against WNMU on Nov. 22 after Spence went down early in the second half with a concussion. Soto scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor in just 18 minutes of action against the Mustangs.
Soto scored in double digits in the three straight games for NM State in early December. Versus Cal State Northridge on Dec. 5, Soto posted 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the foul line to go with three assists and a steal. At Michigan on Dec. 13, Soto scored 10 points including a pair of threes in addition to three steals and three assists. On Dec. 19 at Arizona, Soto came off the bench to provide valuable minutes for the offense. She scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting against the Wildcats including a three and also went a perfect 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.
Rosen's Season Cut Short
Coming off of All-WAC Freshman Team honors a season ago, sophomore Camila Rosen earned her sixth straight start of 2010-11 against Utah on Dec. 23 but left the game with a knee injury after the half. After evaluating the injury, medical staff recommended that Rosen seek surgery to repair an ACL injury, thus ending her season.
Earlier this season in the team's win at UTEP, Rosen scored six of her points in overtime against the Miners. Her jumper with 1:16 left put the Aggies up for good. A minute later, her pair of free throw makes on a one-and-one opportunity put NM State up by three with 17 ticks left to help the Aggies seal the rivalry win.
Rosen ranked third on the team in field goal percentage at 44.9 percent after playing 12 games making 22-of-49 attempts from the floor. She ranked fifth on the Aggies with 22.1 minutes played per game this season.
McGhee Contributes Right Away
Junior transfer forward Ariella McGhee has stepped into the Aggie lineup and made an immediate impact, starting the first six games the season. McGhee made the most of her 12 minutes on the floor at Hawai'i on Jan. 6 in the WAC opener, going 4-of-5 to score eight points to go with a block, steal and rebound. On Jan. 29 at Idaho, McGhee went 3-of-4 from the field with seven points in 14 minutes of action.
She holds the team lead in field goal percentage among at 57.9 percent making 33-of-57 field goals.
Sanchez Attains Career High against UNM
After a redshirt season due to injury in 2009-10, junior Erica Sanchez is proving she is healthy and ready to carry more of the offensive load for the Aggies. Sanchez made the most her time on the floor in the first half against UNM on Dec. 1, scoring a career high nine points against the Lobos with two three-point makes to go with a basket inside the arc and a free throw.
Earlier this season, a three by Sanchez sealed an Aggie comeback at UTEP. In El Paso, she nailed a three with 10 seconds remaining to knot the score at 70-70 and cap off a 12-5 Aggie run to close regulation.
On Dec. 30 at UNM, Sanchez earned her first start since the 2008-09 season after former starters Danisha Corbett and Camila Rosen rehabbed knee injuries. She started her second straight game Jan. 2 against UTEP playing 23 minutes.
Chenier Steps up Game versus WNMU
Freshman guard Andrea Chenier stepped up her game against WNMU on Nov. 22 after senior point guard Madison Spence went down early in the second half with a concussion. Chenier set career highs with 14 points and four steals against the Mustangs. After halftime Chenier led the Aggies with 10 points and 13 minutes of play against WNMU. Chenier has seen time on the floor in each game this season.
Chenier is one of just five Aggies to play in all 26games this season, averaging 9.9 minutes per game.Aggies Battle through another Difficult Schedule This Year
The Aggies' 2010-11 slate includes a dozen games against teams that played in postseason tournaments a season ago. NM State will host 16 games at the Pan American Center - matching the 2007-08 Aggie slate for the third-most home contests in the NM State record books. It marks the 12th season that the Crimson and White play host to 15 or more opponents. In those previous 11 seasons, NM State averaged 20 wins per year. The Aggies' upcoming non-conference ledger consists of eight home match-ups and six road contests.
NM State opens WAC play with six of its first eight games on the road in 2011.
On Jan. 13, the Aggies open their conference home slate against another WNIT team in Nevada. Defending WAC champion Fresno State hosts the Aggies on Jan. 15. A tough-three game stretch against the conference's two NCAA teams from last season, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech, kicks off February. The Aggies compete in back-to-back games against the Lady Techsters in Ruston, La., on Feb. 7 and in Las Cruces on Feb. 12 before hosting the Bulldogs on Feb. 21 to complete their season series.
NM State Fields Veteran Team This Season
NM State returns four starters from an 18-win team that advanced to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) a year ago. The 2010 WNIT appearance marked just the fourth postseason appearance for the Aggies in program history. NM State is an experienced team with eight upperclassmen on a roster of 14 and returns five players that started at least 10 games for the Aggies last season.
Senior guards Madison Spence and Jasmine Lowe each earned Second Team All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) honors from the conference coaches prior to this season. Spence also earned the same honor in the preseason media poll this year.
Both polls rated the Aggies sixth in the WAC in 2009-10, but NM State finished in a tie for fourth place.
NM State Looks to Return to Postseason in 2011
The Aggies finished a successful season at 18-14 overall last season and are coming off of their fourth postseason appearance in history after advancing to the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) last March. NM State fell 84-61 at Arizona State in its first postseason trip in 16 years. The Aggies claimed their first WNIT bid in 1994.
NM State has the chance to make school history if it advances to the postseason for a second consecutive season. The only time the program has earned back-to-back appearances after the regular season was during the 1987 and 1988 campaigns when the Aggies made their only NCAA appearances in school history.
Aggies Host 16 Games This Season
The Aggies' 16 home games at the Pan American Center is the third time in four seasons NM State plays host to more than 15 contests.
Along with this year's ledger, here are the prior three season slates with 16-plus games in Las Cruces including a school record 18 games last year.
- 2010-11: 16 (6-8 at home, 11-15 overall)
- 2009-10: 18 (12-6 at home, 18-14 overall)
- 1979-80: 17 (10-7 at home, 22-12 overall)
- 2007-08: 16 (14-2 at home, 23-9 overall)
Prior to the 2010-11 season, NM State played at least 15 regular season games at home in 11 of its 37 previous seasons. The Aggies averaged 20 wins overall in those 11 seasons while winning at least 18 games in nine of them.