MOSCOW, Idaho - The New Mexico State women's basketball team jumped out to an early lead at Idaho but could not hold on as the Aggies fell to Idaho 64-51 inside the Cowan Spectrum Saturday afternoon.
NM State scored the first seven minutes of the game and held Idaho scoreless over the first few minutes of the game. The Vandals took their first lead at the 7:25 mark of the first half at 17-15. After three more lead changes, Idaho took the lead for good at 22-21.
Senior guard Madison Spence led the Aggies on offense with 13 points in the game. Freshman Jasmine Rutledge led NM State on the glass with 11 boards.
After the loss, NM State dropped to 10-11 overall and 4-3 in the WAC. Idaho improved to 4-3 in the WAC and 11-8 overall.
The Aggies shot 36.7 percent in the game while Idaho made 34.5 percent of their shots. Idaho dominated the boards with a 46-33 advantage on the glass. The Aggies forced 14 turnovers while committing 12 miscues.
"I'm proud of our players for competing hard today," said NM State head coach Darin Spence. "(Madison Spence) played solid today; she stepped it up and made some plays when we needed them."
Spence sparked the Aggies to an early 7-0 lead with the game's first basket and a three a few minutes later. Junior forward Tabytha Wampler added the other bucket for NM State.
The Aggie defense held the Vandals scoreless for the first 4:53 of the contest forcing Idaho to miss its first seven shots of the game.
Behind back-to-back baskets by Wampler in the lane, NM State continued to maintain its seven-point advantage at 11-4 with 13:32 to go.
Idaho's offense awoke shortly thereafter as the Vandals rallied for a 10-2 run over the next 4:10 to take UI's first lead of 17-15 with 7:25 remaining. Vandal senior post Yinka Olorunnife led the comeback with six points and 11 rebounds over the first 12:35 of the game.
Both teams swapped the lead over the next three minutes to make it 22-21 Vandals at the 4:30 mark of the half. Another UI senior sparked the next rally as guard Rachelle Kloke scored seven points during a 10-0 run over the next two minutes.
Wampler sat out the final minutes of the half with two fouls. The Aggies were whistled for eight violations to just three for the home team.
Junior Ariella McGhee scored consecutive points under the basket and a free throw for the Aggies to cut the lead to 33-28 late in the half before Kloke made two from the line to give the Vandals a halftime lead of 35-28.
NM State shot 38.2 percent in the half to the Vandals' 35.5 percent shooting. As a result of the foul discrepancy, Idaho was 10-of-10 from the line while NM State went just 1-of-1. Led by 12 boards from Olorunnife, UI dominated the glass in the first 20 minutes 26-15.
Idaho opened the scoring in the second half with a three to build its largest lead of 10 at 38-28. However, senior guard Danisha Corbett scored the first five points of the half for the Aggies to cut the lead to 38-33 at the first media timeout after the break.
The Aggies cut the lead down to two, 40-38, after a three-pointer from senior guard Jasmine Lowe with 13:24 left in the game. Idaho responded to build the lead back to nine after a three from Olorunnife at 49-40 midway through the stanza.
Spence scored four straight for NM State on offense to cut the Vandal lead down to five points, 53-48 with 3:51 left but the Aggies would get no closer as Idaho maintained the lead down the stretch.
Olorunnife posted a double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds for Idaho. Kloke led all scorers with 17 points for the Vandals.
NM State returns home to face Fresno State on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 7:05 p.m. MT. The game can be seen across the state on AggieVision and can also be heard over the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM.