NM State Battles Miners; Travels to Southern Utah
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  11/27/2012

This Week: NM State gears up for the first of two meeting with I-10 rival UTEP on Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the Pan American Center. This marks the 77th time the teams have met in program history. UTEP starts its season 5-0 after an NCAA run last season following a 24-3 regular season record. After the rivalry meeting, the Aggies set out for a weekend road trip to face Southern Utah on Dec. 1. The Thunderbirds host NM State with a 2-3 record.

Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is producing 15 games on KSNM AM 570 this season, along with any contests in the post season.  Radio coverage is scheduled for the Loyola Marymount game in Las Cruces on Monday as well as the Aggies first road game at UC Santa Barbara, Wednesday on KSNM AM 570 with Jay Sanderson giving the play-by-play.

All games aired on radio are produced by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces. The broadcasts can also be heard from anywhere around the world on the Internet by logging onto www.NMStateSports.com.  Just click on the live events link to access the coverage for a fee.

Television Coverage: Eight games are scheduled to air on television this season on AggieVision. The first game broadcast is the Aggies home game versus I-10 Rival UTEP on Nov. 28 from the Pan American Center.  Fans can also go to www.AggieVision.tv for channel listings.  Fans can also see all the AggieVision games on ESPN3

Live Stats on the Web:  Live stats will be available for fans at www.NMStateSports.com at no cost for the entire season.  Fans can click on the Live Events link at the top of the NMStateSports.com home page to access the live stats. Live stats for away games may direct fans to the opposing team's athletics page.

Twitter/Facebook:  Get all the updates of Aggie Athletics on Twitter and Facebook. Get in-game statistics and in-game updates on Twitter @NMStateAggies.  Find out about all Aggie Athletics promotions and events on Facebook (NMSU Athletics and The Aggie Student-Athlete).

The Looks

Looking Ahead: After the first meeting with I-10 rival UTEP and the quick road trip to Southern Utah (Cedar City, Utah), NM State names the short drive to El Paso, Texas, to face the Miners for the second time this season. The yearly home-and-home series concludes in the Don Haskins Center on Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. Then, NM State gets nearly a two-seek break before hosting New Mexico for the conclusion of that yearly series.

Looking Back: The NM State women's basketball team dominated the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic over the weekend going 2-0, making its overall season record 3-2. The Aggies derailed George Mason 55-52 on Friday evening with sophomore Danesia Williamson collecting 18 points with four assists. NM State claimed the championship title after a 50-44 victory over UC Irvine on Saturday evening. Freshman Sasha Weber collected a career-high 20 points with four three's on the night. NM State is now 10-2 all-time in the home tournament and picked up its sixth title.

Prior to the tournament, the Aggies fell 60-37 to Rio Grande Rival New Mexico. The Aggies tallied 44 rebounds on the night, but sank just 14 of 64 field goal attempts.

Aggie Country

About the Aggies: NM State returns six from the 2011-12 team, including Kelsie Rozendaal, who finished the season with a .526 shooting percentage. Rozendaal was third on the team with 108 total rebounds and second with a .778 free throw percentage on the year. Senior Jasmine Rutledge also returns for the Aggies after averaging 5.7 points per game with 4.1 rebounds. Rutledge saw action in each of the Aggies 30 games last season and started in half of those.

Chrissy Fletcher and Camila Rosen also return to the hardwood as two of the Aggies starters. Fletcher went 4-for-4 at the free throw line against UTEP (11/16) while earning her second straight academic All-WAC honor. Rosen picked up 32 steals as a junior and earned a season-high 13 points against Boise State (1/7).

Gilbreath joins the Aggie squad as a transfer from USC. The former Trojan played in each of USC's 30 games last season, starting 17 contests and averaging 3.9 points per game. She led the team in free throw percentage at 83 percent (24-of-29) and averaged 2.6 rebounds per game. Gilbreath sat out three seasons with the Trojans due to knee injuries.

Along with Gilbreath, Trakh added six other newcomers to the roster. Las Cruces native, Elena Holguin, comes in after redshirting her freshman season. Three-point threat, Alexis Nelson, also joins the Aggies after breaking the single-season record for three pointers with 60 during her senior campaign at Aurora High School in Aurora, Ill.

NM State also brings in University of San Diego transfer, Denesia Williamson. The sophomore started one game and participated in 16 while averaging 12 minutes per game last season. The 5-6 guard averaged 5.1 points, 1.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game with the Toreros. Abby Scott (Madras, Ore.), Sasha Weber (Lacey, Wash.) and Shay Young (San Diego, Calif.) round out the newcomers for NM State.

Sasha's Big Break: Freshman Sasha Weber worked for the best game as an Aggie over the weekend at the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The 6-foot guard helped lift the Aggies to a 2-0 weekend after picking up 13 points in the 55-52 win over George Mason. She followed that up with a career-high 20 points in the championship game versus UC Irvine. Weber was 4-5 behind the three-point arc and had two assists on the night. She also notched new career-highs in three pointers (4) and free throws (6) against the Anteaters. She picked up four points and a rebound in her 16 minutes of play against Rio Grande Rival New Mexico as well. She averaged 12.3 points on 46.2 percent shooting and 2.0 rebounds on the week.

Tournament Champs: The New Mexico State Aggies claimed the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic tournament title with a stellar 50-44 win over UC Irvine on Saturday evening at the Pan American Center. The previous night, the Aggies claimed a 55-52 win over the Patriots of George Mason. With the 2-0 record on the tournament, NM State's Kelsie Rozendaal and Sasha Weber were named to the All-Tournament team. Rozendaal was also selected tournament MVP for her work on the hardwood.

Tough Luck in ABQ: The Lobos took advantage of the points off turnovers in the win over NM State with 19. The Aggies finished the night with similar numbers to New Mexico, but the team just could not find the basket.

The first half opened up with the Lobos taking a 4-0 lead, but sophomore Danesia Williamson downed her first two of 10 baskets of the night. With the Aggies keeping with just those for points until near the nine minute mark, freshman Sasha Weber brought the Aggies back in the game and NM State left the hardwood with 27-20 at the half.

NM State earned the first points of the second half, but struggled to find the basket. A pair of good free throws by senior Kelsie Rozendaal early in the period along with a bucket by Elena Holguin helped move the score for NM State. The Aggies collected a few more points with a layup by sophomore Simone Ruedin and a free basket by Williamson in the middle of the period.

Kelsie Rozendaal combined for seven points and six rebounds on the night, but was 2-for-5 on field goals. Williams and Stefanie Gilbreath each had 10 buckets on the night, going 4-for-16 and 4-for-15, respectively.

Heartbreak in California: The New Mexico State Aggies made a bold comeback in the second half of play, but fell 43-41 to UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 14, at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Aggies had a slow start in the first half, scoring just 14 points before leaving the hardwood. Sophomore Danesia Williamson led the Aggies with six points in the opening half, while senior Kelsie Rozendaal collected three rebounds. Williams finished the road opener with nine points and one assist.

In the second half, Rozendaal opened with a first minute layup, giving the Aggies some energy. Stefanie Gilbreath came up with two free shots for NM State followed by one from Rozendaal in the middle of the half. Back-to-back baskets by Gilbreath and freshman Shay Young halfway through the second period, gave the Aggies the momentum they needed to drive the score. A shot by Jasmine Rutledge out of a timeout closed the gap for the Aggies to 34-25 with less than 10 minutes to go.

That flow continued for NM State as the Aggies worked for 16 points and 16 rebounds in the second half alone. The team also compiled three assists and collected their only three-point shot of the game.

Gilbreath notched 11 points on the night with four boards. Rozendaal worked to go 4-5 in the second half. She combined for five boards and one assist. She earned 10 total points in the game.

 As a team, Aggie defense proved strong against the Gouchos as they collected three shot clock violations in their home opener. NM State also caused eight turnovers on the night.

Thriller on Opening Night: The New Mexico State women's basketball team trilled the crowd with an overtime victory over the Lions of Loyola Marymount, 77-76, on Nov. 12, at the Pan American Center.

Sophomore transfer Danesia Williamson locked the score at 69-69 with less than 30 seconds to play in the game. The 5-6 guard notched 19 points on the night. She paved the way for senior Kelsie Rozendaal to give the Aggies the 77-76 advantage with two free shots in the final five seconds of overtime. Rozendall's shots at the line earned her a career-high 22 points, while shooting 8-13 in the season opener. She also notched her first double-double of the year with 11 rebounds.

Williamson and Rozendaal were accompanied by senior Stefanie Gilbreath and junior Jasmine Rutledge in double-digit points. Gilbreath and Rutledge each earned 12 points on the evening with Gilbreath going 5-6 at the line and Rutledge collecting eight boards.

 Williamson started things off early with a three-pointer and three buckets in the first four minutes of play. She managed nine points in the first half alone. She was 4-5 from the line and helped the Aggies to an overall 42.3 shooting percentage in the first 20 minutes of play.

Loyola Marymount went on an eight point run in the middle of the half, giving the Lions their first lead of the half 22-21. After trading shots back and forth, a deep pass by Sasha Weber to Rutledge gave the Aggies the lead once again 28-27 with 3:53 left in the first half. Two free shots made by sophomore Simone Ruedin tied the score for NM State at 30 with less than three minutes to play in the half. LMU answered back with seven straight late in the half to gain a 37-30 lead and close out the half. Ruedin earned three steals on the game, a career high for the sophomore.

Big Night for Rozendaal: Senior Kelsie Rozendaal opened her final season in Crimson and White with an outstanding career-high 22 points. She also earned her first double-double of he season with 11 rebounds and not a single turnover.


Scouting UTEP: UTEP is coming off one of its best seasons to date. 2011-12 brought a 29-4 overall record with an NCAA Tournament berth and Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. UTEP fell in the first round of the tournament to Penn State, but finished conference play with just one loss (15-1) to Rice. This year, the Miners start 5-0 after two wins at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. Under the direction of 12th-year head coach Keitha Adams, UTEP looks to Anete Steinberga, Kayla Thorton and Kelli Willingham as the returning starters. Averaging 13.2 points and shooting .473 from the field, Thorton is among UTEP's leading ladies. Kristine Vitola is on top of the stats sheet with an average of 16 points a game and 25 rebounds.

Series History Versus the Miners: The Wednesday game marks the 77th meeting between the I-10 rivals. UTEP and NM State first met in 1973 with a 58-37 win for the Aggies during their inaugural season. More recently, the Miners swept NM State during the 2011-12 season. Taking a 76-72 win in overtime in Las Cruces, UTEP prevailed at home with a much larger margin of 63-27 over NM State. The 27 points for NM State tied for the fewest points scored by an Aggie team in program history. (versus New Mexico 12/21/04) All time, UTEP holds a 46-30 record over the Aggies.

Scouting Southern Utah: With a 2-3 record going into the weekend, the Big Sky Conference member is averaging 68.8 points a game while giving up 67 on defense. The Thunderbirds shoot 38.5 from the floor and 65.3 from the line. Hailey Mandeko is on top for the T-birds, averaging 13 points a game and shooting 42.1 behind the arc. Carli Moreland tops the team with an average of seven rebounds per contest.

Series History Versus the Thunderbirds: Aggies are up 3-2 on the Thunderbirds as of the last meeting in 2011. NM State fell in the Nov. 27 meeting 58-57 at the Pan American Center. Southern Utah earned its first win in the series with a 59-58 win over the Aggies in the L'eggs Classic on Dec. 28, 1995. NM State opened the series with an 81-56 win over the Thunderbirds on Jan. 24, 1987. A few years later, the Aggies followed it up with an 82-75 victory on Feb. 5, 1990.

Trakh Signs Five to NLI: Head coach Mark Trakh announces that five high school players have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Aggies in the fall of 2013. Trakh is in his second season with NM State and has led the Aggies to a 1-0 start to the 2012-13 season.

Joining the Aggies in 2013 are Tamera Williams of Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nev.), Brianna Freeman of Harker Heights High School (Killeen, Texas), Vanessa Garner of Archbishop Mitty High School (Milpitas, Calif.), Moriah Mack of Reagan High School (San Antonio, Texas), and Brandee Walton of St. Mary's High School (Phoenix, Az.)

Aggie Returners Earn Academic All-WAC: The 2011-12 Academic All-WAC women's basketball was announced in the spring. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have completed at least one academic year, have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's contests. The following is a list of the five winter sport honorees from the women's basketball squad: Chrissy Fletcher, Jr., Malia Magazzeni, Jr., Kelsie Rozendaal, Sr., Kaitlyn Soto, Sr., Tabytha Wampler, Sr.

Fresh Faces for Trakh: Head coach Mark Trakh brings on a slew of newcomers for the 2012-13 campaign. Among the new Aggies are transfers Stefanie Gilbreath and Denesia Williamson. Gilbreath joins the Aggie squad after spending four seasons with USC. Gilbreath sat out three seasons with the Trojans due to knee injuries, but played in each of USC's 30 games in 2011-12. Williamson wears the Crimson after one season with University of San Diego. The 5-6 guard averaged 5.1 points, 1.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game with the Toreros.

Along with the two transfers, Trakh also adds five other players to the roster. Las Cruces native, Elena Holguin, comes in after redshirting her freshman season. Three-point threat, Alexis Nelson, joins the Aggies after breaking the single-season record for three pointers with 60 during her senior campaign at Aurora High School in Aurora, Ill. Abby Scott (Madras, Ore.), Sasha Weber (Lacey, Wash.) and Shay Young (San Diego, Calif.) round out the newcomers for NM State. 

Last Season: Under the helm of first-year head coach, Mark Trakh, the Aggies finished the 2011-12 season with a 6-24 overall season record. This left NM State with a 3-11 Western Athletics Conference record. The Aggies made an appearance at the WAC Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (3/7). The Aggies were seeded eighth in the tournament but were quickly booted out by No. 1 66-58 State.

Senior guard Tabitha Wampler was the most recent Aggie to join the 1,000 Point Club with a career 1,254 points (2008-12). She joins former teammates Danisha Corbett and Madison Spence along with Aggie great Anita Maxwell (2,601) and Andrea Kabwasa (1,788).

Another highlight for the Aggies in 2011-12 was coach Trakh coaching his 500th game of his career as a Division I head coach. In his 17th year on the sidelines, the floor general notched the milestone against Hawai'i in Las Cruces Feb. 16.

Preseason Accolades: The Western Athletic Conference coaches and media picked NM State to finish eighth and ninth in their respective preseason polls, and senior guard Stefanie Gilbreath was named an All-WAC preseason pick.

The Aggies were picked sixth in last season's preseason polls. NM State finished 6-24 overall and 3-11 in the conference to place in eighth. The eighth place rank gave the Aggies a tough battle against top-ranked Fresno State in the 2012 WAC Championships. The Bulldogs defeated the Aggies 66-58, knocking NM State out of the tournament.

Reigning first team All-WAC honoree Christensen was voted Preseason Player of the Year and is the on the preseason All-WAC first team. Joining her on the first team are Alyssa Charlston of Idaho, Louisiana Tech's Whitney Frazier, Diamond Ford of Texas State and Seattle U's Kacie Sowell. 

Historical Season:

-- The 2012-13 season marks the 40th season of Aggie women's basketball. The first season was 1973-74. 

-- This season also marks 25 years since the Aggies last NCAA tournament appearance.  The 1987-88 team was the last in program history to receive an NCAA berth. 

Potential Aggie Milestones:

-- Head coach Mark Trakh needs just two more victories to reach No. 300 in his career as a Division I head coach- this could happen as early as Dec. 1, when the Aggies face Southern Utah in Cedar City, Utah.

-- With 11 victories during the 2012-13 season, NM State will reach its 600th win in program history. Currently, the Aggies are 592-526 all-time.

Aggies Host 16 Games This Season: The Aggies' 17 home games at the Pan American Center is the fifth time in six seasons NM State plays host to more than 15 contests. Along with this year's ledger, here are the prior four season slates with 16-plus games in Las Cruces including a school-record 18 games last year in 2009-10.

‹ New Mexico State Women's Basketball

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