LAS CRUCES, N.M.— The New Mexico State women’s basketball fell to I-10 rival UTEP on Tuesday night, 80-61. The loss brings the Aggies record to 3-5, while UTEP improves to 7-0 on the season.
Freshman Brianna Freeman led the Aggies in scoring with 12 points, Moriah Mack ended the game with nine points and both freshman Vanessa Garner and junior transfer Tyler Ellis finished with eight.
The Aggies shot 38.0 percent from the field, but allowed UTEP to shoot 42.6 percent. The Aggies did shot 41.2 percent from three-point range (7-17), while holding the Miners to just 15.4 percent (2-13).
“The team did a good job tonight, they competed for the entire game,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “We started three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior tonight so this is a team that is really building for the future.”
The Aggies got off to a slow start against UTEP as they were held without a field goal for the first three and a half minutes of the game.
Freeman scored the first four points of the game for the Aggies, followed by a three pointer from junior transfer September Offutt, which tied the game at seven with just under 16 minutes remaining in the first half.
UTEP answered the early threat by going on a 9-2 run and pushed the score to 16-9. The Aggies wouldn’t go away though, and Mack hit a three pointer that broke the Aggies out of their scoring drought.
NM State went on their own scoring run capped off sophomore Sasha Weber hitting a pair of free throws to give the Aggies a 19-18 lead with nine minutes to go in the first half.
The Aggies and Miners traded baskets for the remainder of the first half. UTEP pushed their lead to seven points, but the Aggies would answer back right before the half with a Weber steal, which led to a fast-break score. UTEP led going into halftime 39-35.
The Aggies were led in scoring at halftime by Freeman with nine points while the Miners had two players in double digits in scoring. The Aggies were outrebounded 16-23 by the Miners but NM State made five three point shots while UTEP were 0-6 from three-point range at the half.
UTEP came out strong in the second half and immediately went on a 11-3 run to give them a 50-38 lead over the Aggies before Garner got the Aggies back on track with a layup with just over 15 minutes to play.
NM State found itself in another scoring drought in the second half and was held scoreless for over three minutes before Mack hit an off-balance shot to keep the Aggies in the game.
Ellis scored six of her eight points in the second half and brought the Aggies’ deficit to single digits with just over 10 minutes to play in the game.
UTEP kept up the pressure and slowly began to pull away from the Aggies in the second half. Mack hit a shot with eight minutes to go to get the score to 50-59, but this was as close as the Aggies would get.
UTEP pulled away from the Aggies and pushed their lead to as many as 20 points before defeating NM State 80-61.
The Aggies travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to take on rival New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 7.