POSTED: Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 4:59pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 7:39pm
New Mexico State women's basketball junior Camila Rosen posted her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds but the Aggies fell 74-56 to Utah State in their Western Athletic Conference (WAC) opener inside the Pan American Center Wednesday afternoon.
A back-and-forth first 10 minutes produced five ties and four lead changes. Just after the midway point of the half, Utah State put together a 15-4 to run push its lead to double-digits at 31-19 with just less than six minutes left before halftime.
NM State cut the lead to seven at the 1:54 mark of the first half after a jumper from Rosen but USU finished the half with a 7-2 rally to lead 40-28 at the half. The Crimson and White got within 10 points twice in the second half but could not get any closer the rest of the way.
Senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal led the team in scoring with 12 points while Rosen finished with her first career double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Rosen joined the Aggies' four seniors in the starting lineup for the second straight game. Forward Tabytha Wampler and guard Kaitlyn Soto continued their season-long starting streaks. Rozendaal and senior guard Erica Sanchez made their two starts of the season in consecutive games.
NM State drops to 3-13 overall and 0-1 in the WAC after the loss. Utah State improves to 10-5 overall and 1-0 in conference with the win.
"I thought we competed in spurts in this game," said head coach Mark Trakh. "We competed a little better in the second half. Camila (Rosen) came to play. She had a career-high 13 the other night. We just need those types of games from multiple kids on the same night. Now we'll get back into the gym tomorrow and prepare for Idaho this weekend."
The Aggies shot 44 percent (22-50) in the game while USU shot 55 percent (30-55) from the field. NM State narrowly won the battle of the boards 30-28. Utah State made 6-of-13 from beyond the arc while NM State made 2-of-11. NM State surrendered 19 turnovers in the game and forced 14 Utah State miscues. At the line, NM State shot 67 percent (10-15) while Utah State sank 73 percent (8-11). The USU bench edged the Aggie reserves 23-20.
Utah State opened the scoring in the first 20 minutes that saw five ties before the midpoint of the half. A bucket from senior Kelsie Rozendaal tied the game early inside the first minute. The teams traded baskets over the next three minutes of the game as USU led 6-4 at the first media timeout.
Sanchez drained a three to give the Aggies their first lead of 7-6 at the 15-minute mark. A three from USU put the northern Aggies up 9-7. NM State scored four in a row for its second lead of the game at 11-9.
After the fifth tie of the game at 13-13, Utah State opened up a 10-2 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes to take control of the stanza and go up 23-15 with 8:25 left before the break.
Rozendaal scored six of the Aggies' final 13 points of the half, but Utah State was able to extend its lead to 12, 40-28, at the break.
The Aggies shot 36 percent (10-28) in the first half and allowed Utah State 58 percent (15-26) from the field. NM State led 17-12 on the boards in the first half. The Aggies were a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe while the blue Aggies went 6-of-7 on free throws in the half. NM State committed 10 turnovers and forced seven USU miscues in the first 20 minutes. The teams' reserves each scored eight apiece in the stanza.
Both teams came out of the half aggressive on defense. Rozendaal continued to pace the NM State with the first four points of the second half for the Aggies.
Utah State quickly built its largest lead of the game, 47-30, with 15:54 remaining. But NM State responded with a 7-0 run from four contributors to cut the margin to 47-37 with 12:21 left in the game. A jumper by Rosen with 9:23 left closed NM State to within 10 again at 54-44 but the Crimson and White could cut the lead down to single digits as USU kept its momentum for the win.
Brooke Jackson led four Utah State players in double figures with a game-high 18 points. Mandy Plunkett poured in 13 including three treys. Preseason WAC Player of the Year Ashlee Brown led USU on the boards with seven and added 15 points. Devyn Christensen recorded 12 tallies for USU.
NM State concludes its three-game homestand against Idaho on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. as the early game of a doubleheader with the Aggie men's team against the Vandals.
Click NMStateSports.com for all of the latest Aggie women's basketball news.