The New Mexico State women's basketball team won a 63-62 thriller on the road against Houston in the Aggies' season opener inside UH's Hofheinz Pavilion Friday night.
With five seconds on the clock and the Aggies up two, 63-61, UH senior Porsche Landry was fouled with 0.5 left on the clock and went to the line to shoot a pair of free throws. She made the first to post a career-high 37 points but missed the second to give NM State the victory.
NM State used an 11-0 run late in the second half to take control of the game. NM State held UH scoreless for over 3:30 pushing the Aggies up 60-53 with 3:36 remaining. Aggie senior forward Tabytha Wampler scored six of her team-high 21 points in during the rally. The forward fouled out with just over two minutes left in the game, but the Aggies held on for the one-point victory.
Wampler totaled a double-double in the first half with 10 points and 11 boards. She finished with 21 points and matched her career high with 18 boards before fouling out with just over two minutes to go. A trio of Aggies finished with eight points including senior Kaitlyn Soto, sophomore Jasmine Rutledge and freshman Hannah Womack.
NM State moves to 1-0 on the season while Houston drops to 0-1. The win was the first for first-year head coach Mark Trakh and his staff at NM State.
The Aggies shot 43.1 percent in the game while Houston shot 39.1 percent from the field. NM State won the battle of the boards 47-35. NM State also made it to the line more making 15-of-25 to UH's mark of 7-of-15. The Aggie bench came up big outscoring the Cougar reserves 16-2; nine Aggies played double-digit minutes in the game.
The Aggies got off to a quick start against the Cougars. NM State opened the scoring with a bucket by Soto. Wampler followed with a pair of baskets in the paint as New Mexico State jumped out to an 8-2 run.
The Crimson and White built its biggest lead of the game at 14-6 heading into the first media timeout at the 14:34 mark. Landry scored eight consecutive points for the Cougars to keep Houston close down 17-12 at the midway point of the half.
After a three from Soto, Houston rallied with an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the game at the 9:24 mark, 18-17. Eight more consecutive points from Landry on offense gave UH its largest lead of the half of three, 22-19, at the 8:27 mark.
An Aggie basket from Rutledge with 7:25 left on the clock put NM State up 23-22. UH moved ahead after another bucket from Landry, but a hoop in the paint by Wampler and a pair of free throws by Womack gave NM State a 27-26 lead with 4:24 left before the break.
Aggie freshman guard Keyora Wharry's first career bucket pushed the Aggie lead to three points, 29-26 at the 3:13 mark, but the Aggies went scoreless the remainder of the half. Houston scored four straight to take a 30-29 lead into halftime.
In a sloppy first half, NM State turned the ball over 16 times forcing eight Houston miscues. NM State shot 48.1 percent from the field in the first half and held Houston to 35.9 percent. The Aggies out-rebounded the Cougars 22-19 in the first 20 minutes. The Aggies' perimeter defense held UH scoreless on 0-of-13 shooting from long range. NM State canned 1-of-6 attempts from behind the arc.
Landry led all scorers in the half with 20 of Houston's 30 points at the break.
Wampler drained her first three-pointer of the year to give NM State a 32-30 lead to open the second half. A minute later Landry responded with a three to put the Cougars up 34-32.
NM State freshman guard Simone Ruedin scored her first point as an Aggie at the 14:09 mark to tie the game at 36-36. The game stayed tight over the next two minutes as the game again became tied at 42-42.
UH went on a 6-0 run to lead 48-42 with 8:03 left but NM State rallied over the next few minutes to outscore the Cougars 18-5 and move ahead for good, 60-53.
Landry led UH with a career-high 37 points, senior guard Roxanna Button added 11 for the Cougars.
NM State hosts Idaho State for its home opener on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. MT inside the Pan American Center.