Aggies Face Utah State in WAC Quarterfinals
The New Mexico State women's basketball team (14-17, 7-9 WAC) faces Utah State (16-13, 10-6 WAC) Thursday evening in a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) quarterfinal matchup inside Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., at 9:30 p.m. MT. The No. 6 seed Aggies and the No. 3 seed northern Aggies battle for the right to play No. 2 seed Fresno State in a semifinal game Friday. This is the first meeeting between the schools in the WAC tourney.
The game 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. Links to live stats can be found on NMStateSports.com.
The teams split the regular season series in 2011. The Aggies defeated USU 75-71 in Las Cruces on Jan. 22. Utah State returned the favor on Feb. 24 with a 72-61 victory ain Logan.
NM State defeated Hawai'i 71-59 on Wednesday in the WAC first round to advance to the game against USU.
Utah State closed the regular season with a convincing win at San Jose State (75-39) two days after dropping a 72-71 overtime contest at Hawai'i. Prior to that the norther Aggies had won seven of nine games.
Inside the Series
NM State leads the all-time series between the schools, 17-12. The Crimson and White defeated USU 75-71 in Las Cruces on Jan. 22 earlier this season but USU answered with a 72-61 win in Logan. The results mark the first split in the season series since 2006.
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 six 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 1985-87, 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 at the Wyoming Dial Classic.
Scouting the Aggies
The Utah State Aggies (16-13, 10-6) of the WAC won eight of 11 constest to close the season. 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. 19 in the country with 11.5 steals per contest and rank No. 22 with 16.2 assists per game. The Aggies also rank among the top 75 nationally in four other categories: assist-turnover ratio (No. 40 – 0.94), blocks per game (No. 56 – 4.2), turnover margin (No. 62 – 2.69) and field goal percentage (No. 74 – 42.0).
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 2.5 per game, good for No. 55 in the country. Her 4.3 assists per game ranks No. 96 nationally and second in the WAC. Sophomore forward Devyn Christensen ranks first in the WAC in free throw percentage at 86.8 percent to rate No. 21 nationally. Sophomore Banna Diop ranks No. 45 nationally with 1.8 blocks per game.
The blue Aggies score 68.0 points per while shooting 42.0 percent from the field. USU allows 67.6 points per game and 41.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Junior transfer forward Ashlee Brown leads the team in scoring with 15.5 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 time out. Christensen adds 11.0 points per game.
Coddington has started all 29 games for USU this season alongside sophomores Jenna Johnson and Banna Diop.
Last Time against the Aggies
LOGAN, Utah (Feb. 24) - New Mexico State women’s basketball senior guard Danisha Corbett moved into the Aggie 1,000-point club with nine points Thursday night as NM State fell 72-61 to Utah State inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Corbett needed nine points to become the 18th Aggie all-time to reach the milestone. The senior drained a three late in the second half to reach exactly 1,000 points. She joins current teammate Madison Spence who joined the exclusive club late last season.
The senior guard tandem of Jasmine Lowe and Spence led the Aggies on offense alongside junior forward Tabytha Wampler, all scoring in double figures. Lowe led the way with 14 points while Wampler posted 12 and Spence made 10.
The Aggies shot 36.6 percent while the defense held Utah State to just 43 percent from the field. NM State edged the home Aggies on the glass, 42-39. NM State was cold from beyond the arc on 2-of-16 from beyond the arc while USU made 5-of-12 from long range.
After the loss, NM State falls to 11-16 and 5-8 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Utah State moves to 15-11 overall and 9-4 in the WAC with the victory.
Utah State’s Ashlee Brown led the northern Aggies early with six points in the first two minutes to build an 8-2 advantage. NM State cut it to two after a bucket under the basket from junior Tabytha Wampler with 15:24 before the break.
USU extended the lead to 16-8 after an 8-2 run spanning four minutes. A few minutes later, the home Aggies built their largest lead of the first half of 17 at 30-13 after a traditional three-point play by Brown with 5:05 left before the break.
NM State then went on an 8-0 run behind four points from Spence to chop the lead down to single digits, 30-21, with 3:17 remaining in the first half.
A bucket from junior Erica Sanchez at the buzzer closed NM State to within 11 at 36-25 at halftime.
NM State missed all 10 attempts from long range in the first half while USU made only 1-of-4. NM State shot 28.9 percent in the first half while holding USU to a 44.4 field goal percentage. The Crimson and White edged the home team on the boards 23-21 in the first 20 minutes.
The home Aggies opened the second half on a 5-0 run to move ahead by 16 at 41-25.
Lowe and Spence combined for 11 of the visiting Aggies’ first 13 points of the second half. However, Utah State matched the guards scoring to push the lead to 55-38 with 13:26 left in the game.
Wampler scored eight straight for the Aggies midway through the half but NM State could not edge any closer as USU led 62-46 with 8:24 remaining.
NM State could get no closer than 14 down the stretch of the game.
Brown led USU with 21 points tonight and Banna Diop added 13. Guard Alice Coddington grabbed a game-high 11 boards to go with seven points on the night.