Aggies Battle Vandals at 5 PM Thursday
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  03/02/2011

Aggies Battle Vandals at 5 PM Thursday

     The New Mexico State women's basketball team (12-16, 6-8 WAC) hosts fellow fifth-place team Idaho (13-13, 6-8 WAC) late Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. for the squad's penultimate regular season contest at the Pan American Center.

 The WAC battle will also be broadcast live by announcers Kyle Doperalski (play-by-play) and Melanie Viramontes (analyst) throughout the state via Aggie Vision on local Comcast Affiliates (Las Cruces - Ch. 4, Albuquerque - Ch. 77, Santa Fe - Ch. 21, and Gallup - Ch. 66). The game will be broadcast live on the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM. 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 Vandals after a 63-59 road win at Nevada on Saturday after a loss at third-place Utah State last Thursday.

Winners of the last six games in the series, Idaho comes into the matchup as losers of three straight and five of its last six contests.  The Vandals last played on Thursday Feb. 24 in a 77-51 road loss at Fresno State. Six of the final eight games for UI are on the road to close the season including the final three.

Inside the Series

  Idaho leads the all-time series between the schools, 17-8, and has won six straight in the series including a 64-51 victory in Moscow on Jan. 29. In 2010, the Vandals completed a season sweep and notched a tourney win over the Aggies. UI edged NM State twice last year during the regular season winning 68-65 in Las Cruces and 60-59 in Moscow. The teams later met in the WAC tourney and the fourth-seeded Vandals came out on top of the fifth-seeded Aggies in Reno, 75-63 on March 10. The series is tied 5-5 all-time in Las Cruces but UI has won each of the last two in the Pan Am by a margin of three points.

Since NM State joined the WAC in 2005, Idaho holds an 8-4 advantage overall in the series. More than half (13) of the all-time meetings were decided by 10 points or less including four of the last seven.

Prior to 2006, the teams had not met since 2001 when NM State scored a 79-65 win during the Idaho State Tournament on Nov. 17. That's the only neutral court win for the Aggies in the series as the Vandals won the first two meetings between the programs in the 1980's during tourneys at Wyoming and San Diego State. The teams split a non-conference home-and-home series in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons with each squad winning on its home court.

From 1997-2000, both schools were members of the Big West Conference. Idaho built its series lead during those four seasons winning six of eight contests.

Scouting the Vandals

  The Idaho Vandals (13-13, 6-8) of the WAC have lost three straight games and five of their last six contests coming into the final week of the regular season.

Idaho ranks No. 19 in the country by committing just 14.0 fouls per contest. The Vandals' free throw percentage leads the WAC and ranks No. 35 in the nation at 74.1 percent while their 6.2 3-point field goals made per game ranks them at No. 86 in the country. UI's 3.9 blocks per game slots them at No. 93 nationwide.

The Vandals score 63.3 points per game while shooting 39.5 percent from the field. UI allows 63.5 points per game and 38.2 percent shooting from the floor.

Senior forward Yinka Olorunnife leads the team averaging a double-double. She scores 14.3 points per game, good for No. 197 nationally and also ranks nationally in rebounds per game at No. 23 with 10.4 boards per contest to lead UI. On the season, Olorunnife has 13 double-doubles to stand No. 22 in the country.

Senior forward Rachel Kloke is second on the team in scoring with 11.7 ppg. Derisa Taleni pours in 10 per game.

Olorunnife and Taleni have started all 26 games for Idaho this season while Kloke has missed just four opening tips.

Last Time against the Vandals

MOSCOW, Idaho - The New Mexico State women's basketball team jumped out to an early lead at Idaho but could not hold on as the Aggies fell to Idaho 64-51 inside the Cowan Spectrum Saturday afternoon.

NM State scored the first seven minutes of the game and held Idaho scoreless over the first few minutes of the game. The Vandals took their first lead at the 7:25 mark of the first half at 17-15. After three more lead changes, Idaho took the lead for good at 22-21.

Senior guard Madison Spence led the Aggies on offense with 13 points in the game. Freshman Jasmine Rutledge led NM State on the glass with 11 boards.

After the loss, NM State dropped to 10-11 overall and 4-3 in the WAC. Idaho improved to 4-3 in the WAC and 11-8 overall.

The Aggies shot 36.7 percent in the game while Idaho made 34.5 percent of their shots. Idaho dominated the boards with a 46-33 advantage on the glass. The Aggies forced 14 turnovers while committing 12 miscues.

Spence sparked the Aggies to an early 7-0 lead with the game's first basket and a three a few minutes later. Junior forward Tabytha Wampler added the other bucket for NM State.

The Aggie defense held the Vandals scoreless for the first 4:53 of the contest forcing Idaho to miss its first seven shots of the game.

Behind back-to-back baskets by Wampler in the lane, NM State continued to maintain its seven-point advantage at 11-4 with 13:32 to go.

Idaho's offense awoke shortly thereafter as the Vandals rallied for a 10-2 run over the next 4:10 to take UI's first lead of 17-15 with 7:25 remaining. Vandal senior post Yinka Olorunnife led the comeback with six points and 11 rebounds over the first 12:35 of the game.

Both teams swapped the lead over the next three minutes to make it 22-21 Vandals at the 4:30 mark of the half. Another UI senior sparked the next rally as guard Rachelle Kloke scored seven points during a 10-0 run over the next two minutes.

Wampler sat out the final minutes of the half with two fouls. The Aggies were whistled for eight violations to just three for the home team.

Junior Ariella McGhee scored consecutive points under the basket and a free throw for the Aggies to cut the lead to 33-28 late in the half before Kloke made two from the line to give the Vandals a halftime lead of 35-28.

NM State shot 38.2 percent in the half to the Vandals' 35.5 percent shooting. As a result of the foul discrepancy, Idaho was 10-of-10 from the line while NM State went just 1-of-1. Led by 12 boards from Olorunnife, UI dominated the glass in the first 20 minutes 26-15.

Idaho opened the scoring in the second half with a three to build its largest lead of 10 at 38-28. However, senior guard Danisha Corbett scored the first five points of the half for the Aggies to cut the lead to 38-33 at the first media timeout after the break.

The Aggies cut the lead down to two, 40-38, after a three-pointer from senior guard Jasmine Lowe with 13:24 left in the game. Idaho responded to build the lead back to nine after a three from Olorunnife at 49-40 midway through the stanza.

Spence scored four straight for NM State on offense to cut the Vandal lead down to five points, 53-48 with 3:51 left but the Aggies would get no closer as Idaho maintained the lead down the stretch.

Olorunnife posted a double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds for Idaho. Kloke led all scorers with 17 points for the Vandals.

Aggie Aggregate

  • In the latest release of the NCAA rankings this season on Feb. 27, NM State ranks in the top 100 of 333 Division I schools in three of 18 statistical categories. The Aggies commit just 15.6 turnovers per game this year to rank No. 50 in the country. NM State's turnover margin of +2.3 stands at No. 72 in the nation while the Aggie free throw percentage rates No. 96 nationally (71.3 percent).
  • Senior guard Jasmine Lowe leads the WAC with 2.7 steals a game and rates No. 33 nationally.
  • Junior forward Tabytha Wampler ranks second in the WAC in free throw percentage at 85.5 this season and ranks No. 29 in the country.
  • On the hardwood, NM State averages 64.6 points per game while shooting a 37.7 field goal percentage. The Aggies hold foes to 67.2 points per game and a 39.3 percent clip from the floor.
  • The Aggies are tied for fifth place in the WAC at 6-8 with Idaho and will either enter the WAC tournament next week as the fifth or sixth seed.
  • Senior Madison Spence is only six points shy of taking sole possession of seventh on the NM State all-time scoring list.
  • Senior Danisha Corbett became the 18th member of the NM State 1,000-point club last week with nine tallies at Utah State.
  • 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 (14.1 ppg); Jasmine Lowe (13.4 ppg), Tabytha Wampler (12.1) and Danisha Corbett (10.5).
  • The Aggies lead the WAC with just 15.6 turnovers per game and stand No. 50 nationally.
  • NM State ranks second in the WAC and No. 96 nationally in free throw percentage at 71.3 percent from the foul line.
  • NM State is 9-3 when scoring over 65 points this season.
  • The Aggies are 8-3 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 Feb. 21

  Last week, she added 10 at Utah State Thursday and six at Nevada on Saturday to move closer to seventh all-time with 1,431 points. Spence now trails former teammate Sherell Neal in seventh place who recorded 1,436 career points by five.

NM State Top-10 Scoring List (spots 6-8)    Point Total       Point Margin Ahead of Spence

6. Tracey Goetsch (1988-92)                      1,559 pts.       128

7. Sherell Neal (2004-2008)                        1,436 pts.       5

8. Madison Spence (2007-present)              1,431 pts.

Corbett Enters Exclusive Aggie Ranks

Senior guard Danisha Corbett joined teammate Madison Spence as the latest Aggie to score 1,000 points in a career. After scoring nine points at Utah State, Corbett hit the 1,000-career point mark exactly as just the 18th player to accomplish the feat in program history. Corbett scored 11 at Nevada on Saturday and has currently accumulated 1,011 career points. Former Aggie Paulina Blunt (1989-1994) is currently No. 17 on the all-time list with 1,148 points.    

After scoring a career-high 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 13.4 points per game this season. She leads the WAC in steals per game with 2.7 swipes per game and ranks No. 33 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 76 steals and 82 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 21 attempts all season. She owns an incredible percentage at the line this year of 85.5 percent on 124-of-145 shooting. That percentage is second in the WAC overall, first among those with more than 100 attempts, and ranks No. 29 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 21 games this year and has started every contest 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 28 games of the season: senior guard Madison Spence (14.0 ppg), senior guard Jasmine Lowe (13.4 ppg); junior forward Tabytha Wampler (12.1 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 31.5; Lowe averages 29.5, Corbett clocks 27.4 minutes on the floor while Wampler plays 24.9 minutes a game. Lowe and Wampler have started each game this season for the Aggies.

Five Aggies have seen action in all 28 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 20.0 minutes of play per contest this season.

Rutledge Solidifies Starting Role

Freshman guard Jasmine Rutledge has started all 14 conference games this season for the Aggies and 16 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 125 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.

In the win at Nevada Saturday, the Lawton, Okla., native posted career highs with six rebounds, two assists, three steals and 28 minutes of action on the floor.

She holds the team lead in field goal percentage among at 55.7 percent making 34-of-61 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 six Aggies to play in all 28 games this season, averaging 10.3 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, 12-16 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.

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