LAS VEGAS - After holding a commanding lead in the first half of the quarterfinals round at the 2013 Western Athletic Conference Championship, the New Mexico State women's basketball team eventually fell 77-53 to the No. 1 tournament seed Seattle University on Wednesday, March 13. The Aggies finish the 2012-13 season with an overall 15-16 record. Seattle will move on to the semifinals with a 19-8 record.
Senior Stefanie Gilbreath led the Aggies in her final game with 23 points, 12 of those coming in the second half. Fellow senior Kelsie Rozendaal worked her way to 10 rebounds on the night and two assists. The pair helped NM State to a 33-25 lead over the Redhawks at the half and a final shooting percentage of 29.8.
Seattle worked the floor to shoot 51 percent and collect 39 rebounds on the game to the Aggies 35.
"I cannot say enough about how proud I am of this team and the fight they have had all year long," head coach Mark Trakh said. "I tip my hat to Seattle. It is a great program. I love the way we came out and played in the first half; we really took control of the court. Seattle just came up in the second half and did the same thing. But at the end of the day, I am so proud of this team and everything they have worked for."
NM state picked up the early lead with a 3-pointer by sophomore Danesia Williamson that started the Aggies on a 16-4 run over the Redhawks early in the opening half. The Aggies dominated the board until the 10:45 mark when Seattle U was able to break up the Aggie run with a layup.
NM State Allowed the Redhawks 13 points unanswered to take the lead 22-21 going into the final media timeout of the half. Two missed free throws by Seattle gave NM State the rebound that Gilbreath put up for a three to regain the lead. She came back with two more buckets behind the arc to extend the Aggies lead to 29-22 with just over a minute left in the first period.
After senior Camila Rosen hit two free shots and the Redhawks came up with a three from the top of the arc, Williamson closed out the half with two shots from the line for a 33-25 lead over Seattle.
The Aggies shot 37.9 percent from the floor in the first half and held the WAC's No. 1 seed to 37 percent. Gilbreath led all scorers with 11 points and Rozendaal topped the box score with seven boards in the opening half.
With a much slower paced second half, Seattle opened the second half with the first four field goals to tie the score at 33-33. Weber broke up the score with two big three's for NM State for a 39-35 lead. Seattle knotted the score again with a jumper and a pair of free throws and the teams began to trade from an Aggie lead to a tie with buckets on each side of the court.
The Redhawks took off on a 14-0 run for a 51-43 lead over NM State and left the Aggies scoreless for over five minutes until Gilbreath hit a layup off the right corner of the glass. The Redhawks went on their second 14-point run over the Aggies until Gilbreath came up with the Aggies next five points to finish the Aggies' portion of the game. Seattle came up with the final seven points of the night to finish with a final score of 77-53 over NM State.
The Aggies finish the 2012-13 season with a 15-16 overall season record and 7-11 in regular-season conference play. The Aggies went 1-1 in the WAC Championships with a win over No. 9 seed UT Arlington on Tuesday, March 12 before falling in the quarterfinals round to No. 1 seed Seattle U.