Aggies Prepare for Rainbow Wahine to Open WAC Tournament
The New Mexico State women's basketball team (13-17, 7-9 WAC) faces Hawai'i (11-18, 5-11 WAC) Wednesday evening in a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) first-round matchup inside Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., at 9:30 p.m. MT. The No. 6 seed Aggies and the No. 7 seed Rainbow Wahine battle for the right to play No. 3 seed Utah State in a quarterfinal game Thursday.
The game will be broadcast live on the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM with Kyle Doperalski. Periodic live updates via Twitter are available by following @NMStateAggies. Links to live stats can be found on NMStateSports.com.
The teams split the regular season series in 2011. The Aggies defeated UH 74-58 in Honolulu to open the WAC regular season. Hawai'i returned the favor on Feb. 15 with a 57-52 victory at the Pan American Center. The win marked UH's lone road win of the season.
After opening the WAC season at 0-8, the Rainbow Wahine have rebounded to claim victories in five of their final eight contests down the stretch. UH defeated Utah State the last time out in overtime, 72-71, March 3 on the islands.
Inside the Series
NM State has won eight of the last 11 contests between the schools. The all-time series between the schools is tied 14-14 after a 74-58 NM State victory at Hawai'i to open WAC play on Jan. 6 and a 57-52 Aggie loss to Hawai'i on Feb. 15.
Prior to NM State's 75-67 victory at Hawai'i last year to complete a season sweep, the Aggies' 22-point victory (73-51) a year ago in Las Cruces was the largest margin of victory for NM State in 15 years of the series.
Scouting the Rainbow Wahine
The Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (11-18, 5-11) of the WAC have won three of their last five contests and five of the last eight after opening the conference slate with eight straight losses. UH wrapped up the season with a three-game homestand. The Wahine defeated Utah State the last time out in overtime, 72-71, March 3 on the islands. Prior to that Hawai'i defeated San Jose State 55-53 on Feb. 24 and dropped an 83-70 contest to Fresno State on Feb. 27.
Freshman forward Kamilah Jackson leads the Wahine in scoring and rebounds this season at 11.9 ppg and 12.0 rpg resulting in a double-double average on the year. Her rebounding average ranks No. 4 in the country. Senior guard Keisha Kanekoa is the only other UH figure to average double figures with 11.5 ppg and leads UH with 101 assists.
Jackson and guard Shawna-Lei Kuehu were named to the All-WAC Freshman Team announced earlier this week.
As a team, Hawai'i ranks in the nation's top 100 in three categories: with a rebound margin of 4.1 that ranks No. 55, a blocked shot average of 4.0 per game to rank No. 77 and a 37.7 field goal percentage defense to stand No. 85 nationally.
UH averages 60.5 points per game while shooting 37.8 percent from the floor. On defense the Wahine allow 66.2 points per game and a 37.7 FG percentage.
Last Time against the Rainbow Wahine
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 15) - New Mexico State senior guard Madison Spence posted her first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds but the Aggie women's basketball team fell 57-52 to Hawai'i inside the Pan American Center Tuesday night.
Spence led three Aggies in double figures with 16 points and her 10 rebounds were a career high. Spence also moved into sole possession of eighth place on the all-time NM State scoring list with a current total of 1,395 career points, passing NM State prolific scorers Princess Moore (1,387 pts - 2000-2004) and Melanie Maynes (1,392 pts - 1998-2002).
Fellow senior backcourt mate Jasmine Lowe added 11 points and junior guard Kaitlyn Soto notched her fifth double-digit scoring effort of the season with 10 tallies.
The Aggies built an early lead of eight points midway through the first 20 minutes. But NM State suffered long scoring droughts at the end of the first half allowing Hawai'i to take a 26-21 lead into halftime. NM State struggled on the glass, losing the battle of the boards 52-32 on the night, but kept the game close to within a couple of possessions throughout the second half.
The Aggies battled back to overtake the Rainbow Wahine midway through the second half at 41-39 after Lowe capped a 9-1 run with a three-pointer. However, Hawai'i regained the lead shortly thereafter and never relinquished it.
Hawai'i won the rebounding war 52-32. NM State shot 33.3 percent from the floor while UH made 36.4 percent of its shots. The Aggies made six threes and 10 free throws to a pair of treys and 15 foul shots for the Rainbow Wahine. Hawai'i outscored NM State 24-16 in the paint.
After the loss, NM State drops to 10-14 overall and 4-6 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Hawai'i improves to 9-16 overall and 3-9 in the WAC after recording its first road victory of the season. The result marked the first win for the Rainbow Wahine in Las Cruces in five tries since a 57-46 victory on Feb. 8, 2007.
Hawai'i took the ball off the opening tip and posted a quick three-pointer from Albuquerque native Megan Tinnin for a 3-0 lead. On the next trip down the court NM State evened the score on a trey from Lowe.
NM State broke a 5-5 tie by putting together its first run of the game over the next at the 18:31 mark of the half. The Aggies scored eight straight points over the next 4:19 to extend the Aggie lead to 13-5.
UH countered with an 8-0 run of its own over the next 3:45 to even the score at 13-13. NM State recovered the lead with a bucket by Fletcher to make it 15-13 midway through the half.
Minutes later the Rainbow Wahine took their first lead since the opening seconds at 19-18 after freshman forward Kamilah Jackson's put-back. UH held NM State scoreless over 5:10 and ran off 11 straight points to take a 24-18 lead.
A three-pointer by junior guard Kaitlyn Soto cut the UH margin to 24-21 with 4:13 left in the half. Neither team could muster much offense in the remaining minutes of the half as UH posted just two free throws from Shawna-Lei Kuehu to make it 26-21 at the half.
NM State shot just 28 percent in the half making just seven shots. Hawai'i fared only slightly better with 10 baskets and a 30.3 field-goal percentage. The Rainbow Wahine dominated the boards in the first half 30-14 allowing NM State just three offensive boards. Spence led the Aggies with eight points while Tinnin posted eight to lead UH in the first 20 minutes.
A UH bucket to begin the second half by senior Keisha Kanekoa followed by another shot from Tinnin gave the Rainbow Wahine its largest lead of the game of nine at 30-21 with 18:05 remaining.
A layup by Lowe ended a six-minute scoreless streak for NM State and a fast break layup by Spence cut the UH lead to 30-25 at the 17-minute mark. The senior guards combined for a fast break layup as Lowe dished to Spence under the basket to post the sixth-straight point for the Aggies to close to within three points with 16:20 left.
The teams played even over the next four minutes. Then NM State put together a 9-1 run to take the lead for the first time since the 6:55 mark of the first half at 41-39 with 9:17 remaining.
Three straight points from Kuehu put Hawai'i back in the lead for good at 42-41 at the 8:35 mark. NM State kept it a two-possession game the rest of the way but UH held the Aggie attack at bay until the final buzzer.
Jackson also posted a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds for Hawai'i. Tinnin led UH with 14 points while Breanna Arbuckle grabbed 11 boards the Wahine.
- In the latest release of the NCAA rankings this season on March 6, NM State ranks in the top 100 of 333 Division I schools in three of 18 statistical categories. The Aggies commit just 15.4 turnovers per game this year to rank No. 47 in the country. NM State's turnover margin of +2.7 stands at No. 61 in the nation while the Aggie free throw percentage rates No. 95 nationally (71.4 percent).
- Senior guard Jasmine Lowe leads the WAC with 2.7 steals a game and rates No. 31 nationally.
- Junior forward Tabytha Wampler ranks third in the WAC in free throw percentage at 84.9 this season and ranks No. 37 in the country.
- On the hardwood, NM State averages 65.2 points per game while shooting a 37.8 field goal percentage. The Aggies hold foes to 66.9 points per game and a 39.4 percent clip from the floor.
- The Aggies finished tied for fifth in the WAC at 7-9 with Idaho and will enter the WAC tournament as the sixth seed.
- Senior Madison Spence took sole possession of seventh on the NM State all-time scoring list with 16 points against Idaho Thursday. After posting 18 against Boise State on Saturday, Spence currently has 1,465 career points.
- Senior Danisha Corbett became the 18th member of the NM State 1,000-point club at Utah State Feb. 24; she currently boasts 1,043 career points.
- With 20 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho on Thursday, Wampler posted her seventh double-doubles this season and ninth of her career.
- Four Aggies are averaging double figures this season: Madison Spence (14.3 ppg); Jasmine Lowe (13.0 ppg), Tabytha Wampler (12.3) and Danisha Corbett (10.9).
- Five Aggies have seen action in all 29 games this season while averaging at least 10 minutes per game: Lowe, Wampler, Corbett, Erica Sanchez and Andrea Chenier.
- The Aggies lead the WAC with just 15.5 turnovers per game and stand No. 47 nationally.
- NM State ranks second in the WAC and No. 95 nationally in free throw percentage at 71.4 percent from the foul line.
- NM State is 10-3 when scoring over 65 points this season.The Aggies are 9-3 when holding opponents under 65 points this year.
Aggies Earn a Pair of Conference Postseason Honors
Two New Mexico State women's basketball players earned 2010-11 All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) honors following a vote of the league's head coaches last weekend.
Aggie senior guard Madison Spence received All-WAC Second Team recognition while guard Jasmine Rutledge earned All-WAC Freshman Team honors.
The awards mark the fifth season in a row that the Aggies have placed a player on an All-WAC squad at the end of the season. Rutledge's selection signifies the fourth straight season an NM State rookie has been named to the conference freshman squad.
Spence has spent four years in a Crimson and White uniform, playing in 119 career games while starting each one. Her 119 starts rank second all-time at NM State. With a start in the WAC tournament Wednesday against Hawai'i, Spence will tie the all-time starts record of 120 held by Andrea Kabwasa (1988-92).
With 16 points Thursday against Idaho, Spence moved into sole possession of seventh place on the all-time NM State scoring list, she added 18 in her final home game on Saturday against Boise State and now boasts 1,465 career points. Last year, she became the 17th member of the 1,000-point club and just the seventh player in program history to accomplish the feat prior to her senior year.
Earlier this season, the senior captain notched her first career double-double against Hawai'i with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Spence has been an All-WAC preseason or postseason selection in each of her four seasons as an Aggie.
Her 1,245 field goal attempts rank No. 6 on NM State's career lists. Spence ranks fourth all-time at NM State with 156 made 3-point shots. She stands third all-time with 485 attempts from beyond the arc.
With 337 made free throws, Spence ranks fourth all-time at NM State and she stands fifth all-time in program history with 448 foul shot attempts. Spence's current 75.2 free throw percentage is seventh all-time in the Aggie record books.
The Las Cruces native's 348 career assists rank seventh all-time at NM State.
This season Spence leads the team in minutes per game (31.7) and points per game (14.3).
In her first season in Crimson and White, Jasmine Rutledge averaged 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 points per game in 17.9 minutes of playing time. She ranks second on the team this year with 138 rebounds. Rutledge also totaled a dozen blocks, 23 assists and 25 steals in her first year.
As a starter over the last 18 games, Rutledge's numbers have blossomed with 2.3 points and 6.2 boards and 23.8 minutes of time on the floor per contest. She pulled down 102 boards in 16 total conference games this season.
Freshman guard Jasmine Rutledge started all 16 WAC games this season for the Aggies and 18 straight contests overall. She 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.
The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native solidified her starting role Jan. 15 at Fresno State with a breakout game. She notched a career high of 15 rebounds against the Bulldogs to go with 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 at Idaho on Jan. 29. The freshman later posted double-digit boards with 13 against LA Tech on Feb. 13.
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 and six at Nevada to boost her total. Spence scored 16 against Idaho on Thursday to pass former teammate Sherell Neal for seventh place on the all-time list. After posting 18 against Boise State on Saturday, Spence now has 1,465 career points.
NM State Top-10 Scoring List (spots 6-8) Point Total Point Margin Ahead of Spence
6. Tracey Goetsch (1988-92) 1,559 pts. 94
7. Madison Spence (2007-present) 1,465 pts.
8. Sherell Neal (2004-2008) 1,436 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 added 11 against Idaho on Thursday and a game high 21 Saturday against Boise State. She currently has accumulated 1,043 career points, 105 behind 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 120 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 13.0 points per game this season. She leads the WAC in steals per game with 2.7 swipes per game and ranks No. 31 in the country. Lowe has started every game for the Aggies this season and has posted double-digit scoring efforts in all but five contests.
Lowe boasts a team-best 82 steals and 85 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 23 attempts all season. She owns an incredible percentage at the line this year of 84.9 percent on 1269-of-152 shooting. That percentage is third in the WAC overall and ranks No. 37 in the country.
In addition to her premier free throw shooting, Wampler boasts seven double-doubles this season to total nine in her career. Wampler has totaled double-digit scoring in 23 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
Four NM State starters are averaging double-digits in scoring over the first 30 games of the season: senior guard Madison Spence (14.3 ppg), senior guard Jasmine Lowe (13.0 ppg); junior forward Tabytha Wampler (12.3 ppg) and senior guard Danisha Corbett (10.9 ppg). The quartet also is among the Aggie leaders in average minutes played with Spence leading the way at 31.7; Lowe averages 28.7, Corbett clocks 27.8 minutes on the floor while Wampler plays 24.8 minutes a game. Wampler has started each game this season for the Aggies.
Rutledge Solidifies Starting Role
Freshman guard Jasmine Rutledge started all 16 conference games this season for the Aggies and 18 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 138 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. She also ended the regular season with three straight starts.
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 Feb. 26, 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 51.5 percent making 34-of-66 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.
Sanchez scored off the bench in five of the last six regular season games for the Aggies.
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 30 games this season, averaging 10.1 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 (7-9 at home, 13-17 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 sea