POSTED: Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 11:09pm
UPDATED: Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 11:40pm
The New Mexico State women's basketball team snapped a seven-game losing streak to Idaho and earned its first Western Athletic Conference (WAC) win in the process with a 61-47 victory over the Vandals inside the Pan American Center Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies trailed 26-23 at halftime but posted their largest second-half point total of the season of 38. They combined that with their best defensive effort in the second half this year, holding Idaho to just 21 points after the break to secure the victory.
That combination provided NM State its largest victory margin of 2011-12. Tonight's second-half surge also snapped the Aggies' streak of eight consecutive games that saw NM State outscored in the second half dating back to the UNM game on Dec. 4. It marked just the third time this season that the Crimson and White won the second half this season.
NM State made its move three minutes into the second half. The Aggies strung together a 10-0 run over the next four minutes behind four points apiece from seniors Kelsie Rozendaal and Tabytha Wampler. The Aggies led 37-31 after the rally. UI closed to within three shortly thereafter but Rozendaal sparked another 10-1 run to put NM State up by double digits.
Wampler led the Aggies with her seventh double-double of the year and 16th of her career totaling 11 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Kaitlyn Soto dropped in a team-high 14 points and classmate Erica Sanchez added 10. Junior Camila Rosen was a just shy of a double-double with nine points and nine boards.
NM State improved to 4-13 overall and evened its WAC record at 1-1 after the win. Idaho dropped to 5-13 overall and 0-2 in conference with the loss.
"Before the game I wrote a few things on the whiteboard for the team," said head coach Mark Trakh. "Number one, we had to rebound. Number two, we had to stop their transition. I thought we did those things and executed our offense to hit a higher percentage of our shots tonight."
The Aggies shot 43 percent (23-54) in the game while holding Idaho to 26 percent (14-53) from the field. NM State held UI to just 6-of-28 in the second half. The Aggies won the battle of the boards 42-37. Idaho made 6-of-16 from beyond the arc while NM State made 5-of-13. Both teams turned the ball over 15 times on the night.
Soto and Wampler started the scoring for the Aggies for an early 4-0 lead, 2:30 into the ball game. After a single made free throw from Idaho, the teams traded three-point baskets the next three times up the court. The pair of Aggie treys came from Sanchez. A bucket from Rosen gave NM State its largest lead of the half at the 13:55 mark at 12-4.
Idaho's offense began to click over the next four minutes as the Vandals answered with an 8-0 run to knot the game at 12-12. UI moved ahead for the first time at the 6:47 mark, 15-14, after a made three-point basket.
The Aggie offense stalled as Idaho continued to stretch its lead to its largest of the game at 24-16 with 90 seconds left in the half following a 9-0 rally. NM State closed the gap to three, 26-23, after a traditional three-point play from sophomore guard Jasmine Rutledge capped off a 7-2 Aggie run to end the half.
The Aggies shot 38 percent (10-26) in the first half and held Idaho to 32 percent (8-25) from the field. NM State trailed 21-14 on the boards in the first half. The Aggies made their only free throw attempt while Idaho went 6-of-10 on free throws in the half. NM State committed eight turnovers and forced nine Idaho miscues in the half. The NM State bench outscored Idaho's reserves 11-7 in the first 20 minutes.
Rozendaal sparked the first of two second-half runs for the Aggies at the 17-minute mark. She scored four straight to tie the game at 31-31 with 15:59 remaining. A bucket by Rosen gave NM State the lead for good out of a media timeout. Wampler then scored four straight to cap a 10-0 run and put the Aggies up 37-31 at the 13:02 mark.
After three points from the Vandals, Rozendaal again scored four straight to kick off another Aggie run. This time Soto scored a three and Rosen drained another three-pointer to finish off a 10-1 rally to push the NM State lead to 47-35 with 9:17 remaining. NM State led by double digits the rest of the way to close out its largest win of the season.
Sophomore forward Alyssa Charlston led Idaho with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds tonight. Guard Krissy Karr added 12 for the Vandals.
NM State opens its WAC road schedule next week with games at San Jose State and Hawai'i. The Aggies begin the trip in San Jose with tipoff slated for 6 p.m. MT on Thursday, Jan. 19 against the Spartans. Both Aggie road games can be heard on KSNM 570 AM with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski.
Click NMStateSports.com for all of the latest Aggie women's basketball news.