The New Mexico State women's basketball team led the first 35 minutes of the game, but visiting Boise State used a late 8-0 run to take its first lead late and fought off the Aggies to win 56-53 inside the Pan American Center Saturday evening.
Trailing by three with just under a minute to go, NM State guard Camila Rosen's three-point attempt rimmed out. After a defensive stop, Rosen's put-back on the offensive end with two seconds to go cut the BSU lead to 54-53 and gave the junior a career-high 13 points. But Boise State made two late at the line to claim the two-point win.
NM State led at the half for the fourth straight game, 28-21, but the Aggies lost the second-half scoring battle for the seventh straight game tonight, 35-25. The Aggies never trailed until BSU leading scorer Kati Isham drained a three-pointer with 4:41 remaining to give the Broncos their first lead. Isham scored 17 of Boise State's 35 after the break to dash the Aggies' hopes and finished with a game-high 23 tallies.
Rosen led the Aggies with 13 points and also grabbed six boards. Senior forward Tabytha Wampler dropped in 11 points and snagged a game-high eight rebounds.
Rosen joined Wampler and three other seniors in the starting rotation tonight. Senior guard Kaitlyn Soto continued her season-long starting streak along with Wampler. Senior guard Erica Sanchez and senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal made their first starts of the season. It marked Rozendaal's second career start and first since 2008.
NM State dropped to 3-12 with the loss while Boise State improved to 9-6 after a season sweep of the Aggies. BSU won 72-57 over NM State earlier this season in Boise.
"We struggled at the free throw line in the final minutes," said head coach Mark Trakh. "We have to do a better job of making shots at the line late in the game to close it out. Give (Boise State) credit they stepped up and made free throws late. I thought Rosen had a great game tonight. We just have to execute better on offense late in the game."
The Aggies shot 40 percent (19-48) in the game while BSU shot 35 percent (23-66) from the field. The Broncos edged the Aggies in the battle of the boards 39-38. Neither team shot well from long range as NM State went 2-of-10 and Boise State 3-of-19. NM State matched a season low of 13 turnovers in the game but Boise State fared better with just nine miscues. At the line, NM State shot 68 percent (13-19) while Boise State sank 78 percent (7-9). The Bronco bench outscored the Aggie reserves 31-9.
After a scoreless 2:20 to open the game, Soto scored the first four points to give NM State an early 4-0 cushion. BSU scored its first bucket of the game seconds later but NM State then went on a 9-2 run to push its lead to 13-4 with 13:09 left in the half.
A three-pointer from Sanchez gave NM State its largest lead of the game at 20-8 with 8:13 before ntermission. The Broncos then went on a run of their own scoring nine straight to cut the Aggie margin to 20-17 at the 4:14 mark of the half. NM State ended the half on an 8-4 rally behind four points from Wampler to lead 28-21 at the break.
The Aggies shot 42 percent (11-26) in the first half and held Boise State 29 percent (10-34) from the field. NM State led 21-18 on the boards in the first half. The Aggies were a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe while the Broncos did not attempt a free throw in the half. NM State committed five turnovers and forced three Bronco miscues in the half. Boise State reserves blanked the NM State bench 12-0 in the first.
Rosen hit a season high of nine points at the 14:51 mark as NM State held on to a 36-32 lead. Isham then scored five straight to cut the Aggie lead to one. But four made free throws by sophomore guard Jasmine Rutledge and another bucket by Rosen put the Aggies on a 6-0 run to lead 44-37 midway through the half.
The Broncos responded with a 5-0 run to make it 44-42 with 8:38 left. Rozendaal made a tough bucket and added a free throw minutes later to go with a basket from Rutledge to put NM State up 49-44 with 5:38 to go.
Then BSU's Isham scored six straight on a traditional three-point play and a trey to give BSU its first lead at 50-49 with 4:41 to go. Another Bronco bucket by forward Nicole Brady capped an 8-0 BSU run to make it 52-49 at the final media time out. NM State cut the lead to one with just a few seconds remaining but BSU held on for the win.
Typically a starter this season, Isham scored a game-high 23 points off the bench to lead the Broncos. She also tied for the team lead with six boards.
NM State continues its three-game homestand versus Utah State on Thursday, Jan. 12 at noon to open Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play. The early start allows schoolchildren from throughout the area to attend the game with classmates and see the battle of the Aggies.
Click NMStateSports.com for all of the latest Aggie women's basketball news.