LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 4) - The New Mexico State women's basketball team posted its largest margin of victory this season with a convincing 70-50 win over Nevada inside the Pan American Center Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies utilized a pair of first-half runs to put distance between the squads. An early 8-0 run put the Crimson and White up 12-6 over the Wolf Pack and the Aggies would never trail again. At the 11:07 mark of the first, NM State sprinted out to a 13-2 run to lead 30-19 with less than two minutes remaining before halftime. Nevada trailed 32-21 at the half and would get no closer in the second stanza.
Aggie forward Tabytha Wampler led NM State with a season-high 25 points and game-high 15 boards to notch her eighth double-double of the year and 17th in her career. The senior co-captain caught fire in the second half scoring 19 after intermission including 11 of the team's first 16 tallies of the half.
Senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal was just three shy of her career high with 12 points. Freshman guard Paige Melville posted a career high seven points tonight. NM State had balanced scoring as 11 of the 12 active Aggies on the roster played in the contest and 10 scored at least one field goal.
NM State improves to 5-17 overall and 2-5 in the WAC. Nevada falls to 5-17 this season and 1-6 in conference play.
"The kids played with more energy tonight and our defense was great," said head coach Mark Trakh. "We got up and down the floor on both ends. I thought we did a great job tonight. We're not going to be an easy out for anybody on our schedule."
After turning the ball over a season-high 36 times on Thursday night, the Aggies chopped down the errors considerably against the Pack with 15 while forcing 21 Nevada turnovers. The 70 points marked a season high for NM State in a regulation game; they previously scored 72 in an overtime loss to UTEP Nov. 16.
The Aggies matched a season-high of 50 percent shooting (28-56) from the field and set a season-high with 28 made field goals. NM State also posted a season-high 18 assists and matched a season high of four blocks in the game. Nevada shot 33 percent (18-55) from the field. The Aggies edged UN on the boards 36-35. The NM State bench scored six times as many points as the Wolf Pack reserves, 30-5
NM State guards Camila Rosen and Jasmine Rutledge scored the first six points for the Aggies to match the half dozen posted by UN forward Kayla Williams at the 17:14 mark of the first half.
Rutledge's second basket of the game sparked an 8-0 NM State run to give the Aggies a 12-6 lead with 15:06 left before the break. Melville scored the final four points of the run with two from the line and a bucket.
The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes with four points from Wampler. With NM State up 17-14, Rozendaal started the pivotal run of the game at the 11:07 mark of the first half. The Aggies went on a 13-2 run over the next 9:22 of the half to give NM State a 30-19 advantage with 1:45 before halftime.
The Crimson and White led by 11 at the half, 32-21.
The Aggies shot 46 percent (13-of-28) in the first half and held Nevada to 35 percent (9-of-26). Nevada made three treys and NM State drained two from long range. NM State trailed on the boards 19-15 at the break. The Aggies committed only five turnovers but forced a dozen UN miscues.
Wampler scored 11 of the Aggies first 16 points after the break as Nevada could not climb back into the game. NM State led by as many as 26 in the second half.
Williams led the Pack in scoring with 12 points despite playing much of the second half with four fouls. Senior guard Kate Kevorken added 11 and junior guard Chanelle Brennan added 10 tallies. Brennan and Williams each grabbed six boards to lead Nevada.
NM State hits the road for two WAC games next week at Idaho and Utah State. The Aggies tip against the Vandals in Moscow at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. The Crimson and White then trek to Logan, Utah, for the battle of the Aggies Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3:30 p.m.
Fans can listen to both games live on the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski. The USU game will also be picked up by AggieVision with a live feed from Utah State.
Click NMStateSports.com for all of the latest Aggie women's basketball news.