LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 18)-The New Mexico State women's basketball team beat San Jose State, 56-55, in the home finale on senior night.
Senior forward Tabytha Wampler tied a season-high with 25 points to lead the Aggies (6-20, 3-8 WAC). Senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal and sophomore guard Dré Chenier added 10 points each.
In the second half, the Aggies controlled the lead until the 14:10 mark following a few miscues. The lead changed five times until San Jose State built its largest lead of the game, 49-43, with 4:19 to play.
The Aggies responded with a 3-pointer from Chenier to pull within three, 49-46, with 3:47 remaining in the game. Following a Spartan basket, Wampler scored on a put back to cut the San Jose State lead back to three, 51-48, at 2:28.
The NM State defense held strong and Chenier hit two free throws on the next possession to trim the deficit to one, 51-50, with 2:05 remaining. San Jose State answered with a jumper, but the Aggies stayed poised and Wampler found Rozendaal on the block, and she was fouled on the bucket. Rozendaal's free throw just rolled off the front edge of the rim, but senior forward Erica Sanchez extended the possession with the offensive rebound.
The Aggies utilized the second opportunity when Rozendaal found Wampler for a layup for a 54-53 lead with 1:08 to play. After San Jose State regained the lead on a jumper, 55-54, freshman guard Simone Ruedin was fouled with 16.8 seconds to play while setting up the Aggie offense. Ruedin proceeded to hit both free throws to give the Aggies a 56-55 lead. The decisive free throws were Ruedin's lone points of the game.
The Aggies had a 28-24 halftime lead thanks to 50 percent shooting from the 3-point line (4-of-8). Wampler led all scorers with 13 points. Sanchez and Rozendaal supplied six points each. Sanchez was 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. The Aggies were also a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line.
NM State travels to Ruston, La., to meet Louisiana Tech, Saturday, Feb. 25 at p.m. to begin a three-game road stint.