NM State built an early lead but Idaho used a pair of runs in each half to distance the visitors from the home squad. The Vandals went on a 10-0 run midway through the first and used an early 9-0 rally in the second half to keep ahead of the Aggies. NM State closed to within three points with just under four minutes to go, but UI scored seven of the next nine to help secure the road win.
Junior Tabytha Wampler led the Aggies with her seventh double-double of the season with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Madison Spence posted 16 points on the night and backcourt classmate Danisha Corbett added 11 for the Aggies.
Spence, Corbett and fellow senior Jasmine Lowe will be honored Saturday as part of senior day for the Aggies' last home game against Boise State inside the Pan American Center at 3 p.m. MT.
Spence moved into sole possession of seventh place on the NM State all-time scoring list with 16 points tonight to build her career total to 1,447 tallies. Spence passed former teammate Sherell Neal (2004-08) who boasts 1,436 career points.
The Aggies shot 39.7 percent while Idaho shot 54.3 percent from the field. NM State made just 1-of-9 from long range while Idaho made 8-of-18. NM State led on the glass 37-30. The Aggies scored 26 points on 17 UI turnovers while the Vandals posted 13 on 13 Aggie miscues.
NM State drops to 12-17 overall and 6-9 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) after the loss. Idaho improved to 14-13 overall and 7-8 in conference.
With the result, the Aggies are guaranteed the sixth seed in the WAC women's basketball tournament beginning Wednesday, March 9 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. NM State will tip at 9:30 p.m. MT on the opening day against the No. 7 seed.
"I thought we came out flat tonight," said head coach Darin Spence. "We will reload for Saturday and see what we can do. A win against Boise State would be good for us to bounce back on Senior Day."
NM State started the way it did earlier this season on the road at Idaho, with a 7-0 lead. Sophomore guard Jasmine Rutledge opened the scoring for the Aggies followed by a three from senior guard Jasmine Lowe and a hoop from Wampler.
However, Idaho responded with 5-0 run to cut the margin to two points. UI put together a 10-0 run to overtake the Aggies for the lead and build its largest lead of the half at 17-11 with 10:16 left in the first half.
The Aggies answered with a 6-0 rally to knot the score at 17-17 for the first tie of the game at the 8:42 mark. The Vandals went back ahead with a traditional three-point play with just over eight minutes remaining in the first.
The teams traded the lead four times over the next five minutes, leading up to a 29-29 tie with 3:43 left before the break. Over the final minutes, UI outscored NM State 8-2 to close the half and lead 35-31.
NM State missed all five tries from long range while Idaho made 5-of-10 from downtown in the first half. UI shot 54.5 percent in the half while the Aggies posted a 39.4 field goal percentage. NM State forced 11 first half turnovers while only coughing up seven miscues. The Aggies led on the boards 17-14 in the first 20 minutes.
Wampler scored the first six points for the Aggies after the break as NM State closed to within two points at 40-38 with 16:20 remaining.
Idaho then responded with a 9-0 run to open up an 11-point advantage, its largest of the game to that point, with 14:32 left in the game.
NM State stayed within a few possessions of the lead in the final 10 minutes, closing to within three with 3:48 on the clock, but UI scored seven of the next nine points to take back the momentum and provide a cushion for the victory.
Yinka Olorunnife led Idaho with a double-double including 13 points and 11 rebounds. Rachele Kloke added 12 for the Vandals while Derisa Taleni scored 11.
The Aggies end the regular season with Senior Day honoring Madison Spence, Danisha Corbett and Jasmine Lowe with a 3 p.m. game against Boise State on Saturday, March 5. The game can be heard over the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM with Kyle Doperalski.
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