LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 9) - The New Mexico State women's basketball team suffered another close loss Thursday evening, this time at Idaho, 62-59 in overtime, despite two impressive performances from young Aggie guards at the Vandals' Cowan Spectrum.
NM State freshman guard Simone Ruedin made her second career start and played 39 minutes at the point for the Aggies while scoring a career-high 13 points, including 10 in the second half. Sophomore guard Dré Chenier also posted a season high of 13 points off the bench for NM State - all coming after halftime.
With 10 points, senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal bookended the Aggie scoring in regulation. She recorded the first five points of the game for NM State and drained a late three for the Crimson and White's final field goal of the game. Senior forward Tabytha Wampler missed several minutes with foul trouble but still managed 11 points including the Aggies' only tally in overtime.
Idaho scored the first six points of the game and never trailed through the first 59 minutes of action. However, a 7-0 NM State run with less than five minutes in regulation put the Aggies on top for the first time in the contest, 58-55, following a three-point basket from Rozendaal with 22 seconds remaining.
The Vandals quickly moved the ball up the floor and hit a three-pointer of their own to knot the game at 58-58 with seven ticks left. A last-second attempt by the Aggies missed the mark.
In overtime, Wampler's early free throw put NM State up 59-58. UI knotted the score at 59-59 seconds later with a free throw on its end. After a couple of scoreless minutes a trey from Idaho put the Vandals up 62-59 with 95 seconds left. NM State had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but could not convert.
NM State drops to 5-18 overall and 2-6 in the WAC after the loss. Idaho improves to 8-16 this season and 3-5 in conference play. The teams split the season series with each winning on its home court. The Aggies are now 2-8 this season in games decided by four points or less.
NM State shot 37 percent from the floor (22-60). The Aggies were best from behind the arc, shooting 43 percent (6-14). The Aggies held Idaho to 40 percent shooting (21-52). The Vandals shot a little better from long range at 47 percent (8-17). Both teams shot well from the line, 82 percent (9-11) for NM State and 75 percent (12-16) for UI. The Vandals edged the Aggies on the glass in the game, 35-34. The Aggies committed 14 turnovers but forced Idaho into 15.
UI jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes but Rozendaal closed the gap with five straight to trim the lead to one early. A three from Wampler tied the game at 8-8 with 16:36 left in the first. Wampler tied it again at 10-10 a few minutes later.
UI went on an 8-2 run to go up 18-12 approaching the midpoint of the half. The Aggies answered with a 7-2 rally to cut the Vandal lead to one at 20-19 with 8:20 before the break.
NM State then went cold from the field late in the half. Idaho held the Aggies off the scoreboard for more than seven minutes to build its largest lead of the game at 34-22 with under a minute to go in the first. A late NM State bucket made it 34-24 Idaho at the half.
Ruedin and Chenier carried the Aggie offense after the break with Wampler on the bench in foul trouble. Idaho maintained its advantage through the first five minutes after intermission. But the young Aggie guards sparked an 11-3 run in the middle of the half to close NM State to within two of the UI lead, 48-46, with 7:40 left.
The Vandals held onto the lead but then went cold to end the second half much like the Aggies in the first. NM State kept Idaho without a field goal for over five minutes to help the Aggies go ahead 58-55 with 22 seconds remaining, after a 7-0 run. Idaho's three-pointer with seven ticks left sent the game into overtime.
Idaho sophomore Alyssa Charlston led the team with a game-high 17 points. Keri Arendse who hit the Vandals' three in OT finished with 12 and center Jessica Graham added 10 tallies.
NM State continues its road trip at Utah State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Logan, Utah. Fans can listen to the game live on the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski. The 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.