LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Jan. 28) - The New Mexico State women's basketball fell 69-42 to Louisiana Tech inside the Pan American Center Saturday afternoon.
After a tight first half, LA Tech led 22-19 at intermission. But the Lady Techsters utilized a 17-0 run beginning at the 17:09 mark of the second half to take control of the game at 49-25 just prior to the midpoint of the stanza.
Senior forward Tabytha Wampler just missed a double-double with 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Aggies despite playing with foul trouble much of the game. Junior forward Chrissy Fletcher also grabbed eight boards. Senior Kaitlyn Soto went down with a knee injury at the 13:10 mark of the second half, dealing a severe blow to the Aggie offense.
NM State drops to 4-16 and 1-4 in the WAC after the loss. LA Tech improved to 10-10 and 3-2 in conference play with the win.
"The game got away from us in the second half," said head coach Mark Trakh. "We couldn't contain their athleticism. They made some good shots and executed their offense better than we did. I think their pressure took us out of our offense. But our main focus right now is on Kaitlyn (Soto). We're going to have to get somebody to step up in her place going forward."
The Aggies shot 29 percent (12-42) in the game while LA Tech made 44 percent (27-62) from the field, including 51 percent in the second half. The Aggies won the battle of the boards 37-34. NM State struggled from beyond the arc going 3-of-11 on the night while LT made 7-of-19. The Aggies committed 25 turnovers while forcing a dozen Lady Techster miscues.
In a low-scoring first half, Soto opened the scoring with a free throw for an early 1-0 Aggie lead. Soto's make from the line kicked off a tight, one-possession game for the next 15 minutes.
Neither team led by more than two points until the 3:07 mark of the first half. The Aggies and Lady Techsters knotted the score up in five times and traded the lead on seven occasions in the first 20 minutes.
NM State led by two multiple times, the last at the 8:41 mark after a bucket from Wampler. Shortly thereafter, Wampler picked up her second foul at the 8:16 mark. She would take a seat on the bench until the final 90 seconds of the half.
After NM State took a 14-13 lead on a Jasmine Rutledge bucket, LA Tech rallied for the largest lead of the game up to that point, 19-14, after a 6-0 run spanning 5:34 on the clock.
Wampler scored the final five points of the half for the Aggies despite playing with two fouls to cut the Lady Techster lead to 22-19 at the half.
The Aggies shot 29 percent (6-of-21) in the first half and held LA Tech to 33 percent (9-of-27). Both teams made two from beyond the arc. NM State led on the boards 21-15 at the break. The Aggies committed 12 turnovers and forced seven LT miscues.
NM State struggled from the field in the second half, managing just six points over the first nine minutes after the break. Complicating issues for the Aggies on offense, Wampler picked up her fourth foul at 16:10 and point guard Soto went down with a leg injury with 13:10 remaining.
LA Tech took advantage of NM State's offensive woes, jumping out to a 17-0 run over a six-minute span before the midway point of the half.
The Aggies put together an 8-0 run at the midway point of the half, but LA Tech maintained its lead to claim the road win.
Senior guards Kiara Young and Whitney Jones led the Lady Techsters with 15 points apiece. Senior forward Shantale Bramble-Donaldson led LT on the boards with nine to go with eight tallies.
NM State continues its three-game home stand against WAC-leading Fresno State on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen live on AggieVision with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski and analysis from Melanie Viramontes.
Click NMStateSports.com for all of the latest Aggie women's basketball news.