LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Aug. 29) - New Mexico State head women's basketball coach Mark Trakh released the Aggies' 2012-13 hoops schedule Wednesday that includes nine games against teams that played in postseason tournaments a year ago.
Trakh's squad is set to host 16 regular-season games at the Pan American Center for the third straight season - matching the third-most amount of home contests in the NM State record books. It marks the 14th season that the Crimson and White play host to 15 or more opponents in the regular season. In those previous 13 seasons, NM State averaged 18 wins per year.
With five new squads joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) schedule this season, the conference slate grows to 18 games. Each squad will play home-and-home contests with the other nine teams. New schools on the Aggies' conference schedule this year include Denver, Seattle, Texas State, UT Arlington and UTSA. NM State's travel partner in 2012-13 will be the Pioneers of Denver.
The Aggies' upcoming non-conference ledger consists of seven home match-ups and four road contests. Prior to the WAC schedule, NM State tips against four opponents with 2012 postseason credentials.
"I think we have put together a very good schedule this year," said Trakh. "It's a very competitive schedule. The non-conference games will prepare us for conference play which will also be a challenge."
NM State's 29-game, regular-season schedule kicks off in Las Cruces Monday, Nov. 12 against Loyola Marymount.
The Aggies' first road contest occurs at 2012 NCAA Tournament team UCSB (Nov. 14) in Santa Barbara, Calif., NM State knocked off the Gauchos at home last season 52-51.
In-state rival New Mexico is on the Aggie docket for a pair of home-and-home contests in 2012-13. NM State travels to Albuquerque on Nov. 20 and completes the Rio Grande Rivalry against the Lobos at the Pan American Center on Dec. 18.
New Mexico State looks for its fifth Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic title in six seasons on Nov. 23-24. Joining the Aggies in the two-day holiday tourney is 2012 Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) selection Drake along with UC Irvine and George Mason. NM State and GMU will battle in game two of the tourney Nov. 23.
Rival UTEP also advanced to the postseason as an NCAA qualifier last season. The Aggies and Miners play twice in the first month of the season. NM State travels to El Paso on Nov. 28 then hosts UTEP a week later in Las Cruces Dec. 5.
Rounding out the non-conference slate, the Aggies travel to Southern Utah on Dec. 1 and later hosts 2012 WNIT opponent UMKC (Dec. 21). NM State breaks away from conference play when it entertains CSU Bakersfield Feb. 23.
NM State opens WAC competition with four of its first six games at home in 2012-13. The Aggies open the conference schedule at home against UT Arlington on Dec. 29 before a New Year's Eve battle against traditional power Louisiana Tech Dec. 31.
The Aggies kick off 2013 with their first conference road trip to UTSA Jan. 3 before visiting Texas State for a game two days later. NM State returns home to face 2012 Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) selection Seattle on Jan. 10 and Idaho Jan. 12.
On Jan. 17, another 2012 WNIT participant in Utah State hosts NM State. The Aggies then travel to San Jose State Jan. 19 and make a visit to Denver a week later to complete the first half of the WAC slate.
The Crimson and White hosts Texas State Jan. 31 and UTSA Feb. 3 before making road trips to Idaho (Feb. 7) and Seattle (Feb. 9). SJSU invades the Pan Am on Valentine's Day a couple days before Utah State pays a visit to the Mesilla Valley Feb. 16.
After stepping out of conference to play Bakersfield, NM State hosts Denver for its final home game on Senior Day, March 2. The Aggies close out the regular season on the road at LA Tech (March 7) and at UTA (March 9).
The 2013 WAC Tournament will be held at a neutral site in Las Vegas for the third year in a row. The Orleans Arena will play host to both the men's and women's conference basketball tournaments March 12-16. All 10 teams will take part in the conference tourney.
In a transitional season, the Aggies completed the 2011-12 campaign at 6-24 in Trakh's first year on the NM State sideline. The Aggies finished the season on a strong note pushing top-seeded Fresno State to the final minute at the 2012 WAC Tournament before the Bulldogs escaped with an eight-point victory.
NM State returns seven players from a year ago but loses the services of Aggie 1,000-point club member Tabytha Wampler and fellow departed seniors Erica Sanchez and Kaitlyn Soto. Trakh and his staff added six new commitments including former high school All-American and USC transfer Stefanie Gilbreath.
Gilbreath, a 6-1 guard originally from Katy, Texas, joined fellow spring signees Danesia Williamson, a 5-6 guard from San Diego and Alexis Nelson, a 5-7 guard from Aurora, Illinois. They followed fall signees Abby Scott, a 6-1 guard from Madras, Ore., Sasha Weber, a 6-0 guard from Lacey, Wash., and Shay Young, a 6-0 guard from San Diego.
The Aggies take the court for a preseason exhibition game against Fort Lewis College on Friday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Pan American Center in preparation for their season opener 10 days later.
For all of the latest Aggie women's basketball news, click NMStateSports.com.