NM State opens the 2014 Western Athletic Conference season on Jan. 4, against Grand Canyon at the Pan American Center. The game marks the first at home for the Aggies in over a month. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
You can listen to the game live on KSNM AM570 with Jay Sanderson making the call. The pregame show is set for 15 minutes before tip-off. Saturday’s pregame show is set for 5:45 p.m. Live stats for the game are available at NMStateSports.com.
Staying Connected #AggieUp
Want to stay connected with Aggie Athletics when you can’t make it to the Pan Am? Follow us on Twitter @NMStateAthletics and on Facebook at “NMSU Athletics” for the most up-to-date info on the games going on. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #AggieUp to get linked into the conversation.
The Aggies dig into conference play as the team heads to Seattle U and Idaho Jan. 9 and 11. NM State meets the other two WAC veteran teams beginning with the Redhawks at 8 p.m. on Jan 9. The Aggies then make the trip south to Idaho at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11.
NM State was set back to a seven-game losing streak after falling twice at the UTSA Holiday Classic. The Aggies dropped game one of the weekend 73-63 to Northwestern State before ending the week on a 65-56 loss to former WAC foe UTSA.
Sophomore Sasha Weber had her best game of the week against UTSA when she scored 17 points for the Aggies. 15 of those came in the first half alone and she was just two rebounds shy of a double-double. Junior Danesia Williamson matched her career-high 28 points against NSU and came back a day later for 21 points in the second half of the UTSA game. Freshmen Tyler Ellis and Brianna Freeman each had career-high games against NSU with 12 and 13 rebounds, respectively.
Grand Canyon leads the WAC with an 11-3 record overall. The team did lose its first conference game of the season to UTPA, but not before starting the year with wins over Nevada, Hawaii and North Texas. The 60-58 loss to Texas-Pan American snapped a six-game winning streak for the Lopes.
Kaitlyn Petersen leads the team with 13.5 points a game, but Judy Jones scores 13.5 a game for the Lopes. Petersen has started every game for GCU and Jones, missing just one game this season, is averaging 8.5 rebounds a game. She helps the team to average 37 boards a game.
This is the first meeting between the two teams.
Last Game: at UTSA (L, 65-56)
The team fell 65-56 to UTSA on the final day of the Holiday Classic in San Antonio, Texas. NM State is 3-10 on the season and continues the search for its first road win. Junior
Danesia Williamson finished the day with 22 points, 21 of those coming in the second half. She was named to the Holiday Classic All-Tournament team for her work on the weekend. She scored 28 points in the Aggies loss to Northwestern State on Saturday.
Sophomore Sasha Weber had 17 points on the day, good for the second best game of her season and second best of any scorer. The Aggies shot 33.9 percent as a team and held UTSA to 36.8 percent. The Runners out-rebounded the Aggies 41-37 and NM State had 20 points inside the paint.
Danesia Williamson, a junior from San Diego, Calif., had an outstanding week for the Aggies, averaging 18.7 points in three games. She matched her career high of 28 points against Northwestern State and came back the next day for 21 second-half points against UTSA. She had six steals and two assists on the week and earned all-tournament team honors at the UTSA Holiday Classic for her work on the weekend.
Freeman Starts the Doubles
Freshman Brianna Freeman is the first Aggie to earn a double-double this season. She had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Aggie loss to Milwaukee (84-81) during the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The double-double was the first of Freeman’s young career as an Aggie.
Garner Starting Hot
Vanessa Garner finished her debut week for NM State with a team-high 19.7 points in the first week for the Aggies. She has scored in double figures in five games this season, making her the leading scorer for NM State. She is averaging 10.8 points per game and set a new career high 26 points in the loss to Loyola Marymount in November. Since then, Garner has just one double-digit game and it was her most recent game against Cal State Fullerton when she had 15 points.
The Aggies, starting three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior newcomer, are among the youngest starting lineups in the country. Here is a list of the five youngest teams in the NCAA:
UMBC (Maryland-Baltimore County): 3 Freshmen and 2 Sophomores
Boise State: 2 Freshmen and 3 sophomores
NM State: 3 Freshmen and 1 Sophomore, 1 Junior
Abilene Christian: 3 Freshmen, 1 Sophomore, 1 Senior
Oregon State: 1 Freshman, 3 Sophomores, 1 Junior
NM State returns two starters from last year and look for replace senior starters Stefanie Gilbreath and Kelsie Rozendaal. Sophomores Abby Scott and Sasha Weber stand as the top returners for the Aggies. Weber returns after starting 24 games, averaging 8.5 points per game, posting 59 assists to go along with the top field goal percentage among the returners. Scott started nine games for the Aggies and averaged 4.7 points per contest. Other Aggies returning for the 2013-14 season include junior Simone Ruedin and redshirt sophomore Elena Holguin.
The Aggies ended the 2012-13 season with a 15-16 overall record and 7-11 in WAC play. The season was highlighted by wins over defending Conference USA champion UTEP (69-68) and WAC-leading Utah State (106-94) late in the season. NM State ended the year with a second round loss to top-seeded Seattle U in the WAC Tournament. NM State went into the tournament as the eighth seed and fell 77-53.
The Aggies were selected to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference media and coaches’ preseason polls. Sophomore guard Sasha Weber was picked as a second-team selection in both polls. This comes after being noted as the top returner for the Aggies with 24 starts and 8-5 points per contest.
Coming in 2014-15
Head coach Mark Trakh announcing the signing of three players to the 2014-15 New Mexico State women’s basketball team. Tyesha Taylor, Jasmine Cooper and Alisha Washington each signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Aggies next fall.
Taylor, a 6-4 junior from Temple High School in Temple, Texas, is a top-10 player in her home state. She suffered a knee injury, keeping her off the court her final nine games of the 2013 season, but still managed to help THS to a 24-8 season record.
Cooper, a 5-11 forward from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas, helped her team to a 36-5 overall record as a junior and was named second team all-district. She averaged 5.7 rebounds a game for the Tigers in her two seasons on varsity and had 70 steals during the 2012-13 season.
Washington, a 5-8 guard, is also from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas and is the teammate of her future Aggie teammate, Cooper. Washington averaged 18.1 points per game and 2.9 assists her junior season. She is also listed as one of the Top 20 players of out Texas and earned all-tournament accolades, first team all-district and was named most valuable player for her league.