Aggie Women Suffer 1-Point Loss to UNM
For the second time this season the New Mexico State women's basketball team dropped a one-point contest to rival New Mexico, 59-58, this time inside the Pan American Center Friday evening.
Aggie senior forward Tabytha Wampler drove the left side of the lane late in the game and dropped in a layup as she was fouled to put NM State up 58-57 with 26.4 seconds left. Wampler's free throw attempt missed the mark. UNM snagged the rebound and drove the court to get Lobo senior Porche Torrance a layup in the lane with eight ticks left on the clock. A jumper by Aggie sophomore Jasmine Rutledge missed just before the buzzer. As a result, UNM earned its second one-point victory in the season series after edging the Aggies 54-53 Dec. 4 in Albuquerque.
Down by eight at halftime, New Mexico opened the second half on a 15-3 run to match its largest lead of the game, 43-39, with 13 minutes remaining. NM State recovered after the Lobo rally and it became a one-possession game with neither team leading by more than three points the rest of the way; going down to the final possession.
Wampler led three Aggies in double figures with 14 points. Senior guards Erica Sanchez and Kaitlyn Soto also scored in double digits with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Rutledge finished with nine points and led the Aggies with eight boards.
"We didn't call a timeout down the stretch and (Jasmine) Rutledge got off a good shot at the end," said head coach Mark Trakh. "I think we are better than our 2-10 record. I think we'll be a tough out in conference play. We just have to be smarter down the stretch in these types of games. But the kids played really hard tonight."
NM State dropped to 2-10 with the loss while UNM improved to 5-8 this season.
The Aggies shot 41 percent (21-51) on the night but went 0-for-7 from downtown after intermission. UNM shot 34 percent (19-56) from the field but finished 5-of-12 from long range. NM State led in rebounds 39-34 in the game but the Lobos won the battle of the boards in the second half, 22-17. UNM made all nine of their free throws in the second half to post 89 percent (16-18). NM State missed half of their foul shots after the break after making all nine first-half attempts to finish at 77 percent (13-17). NM State finished with 19 turnovers, while the Lobos made 15 errors.
The first half was full of lead changes and runs by each foe. UNM opened the scoring with a three-point basket inside the first minute but NM State took over the lead after four quick points by junior guard Camila Rosen 90 seconds into the contest.
UNM kicked off a flurry of runs with a 7-2 rally to open up its largest lead of the half at 10-6 with 15:49 showing on the clock. NM State responded with a 10-0 run over the next four minutes behind a pair of threes from Sanchez to build a 16-10 advantage.
The Lobos rebutted with an 11-2 rally to move back ahead 21-18 with 7:20 left in the stanza. Then it was the Aggies turn to rally - this time from the free throw line. NM State put together a 9-3 run with seven free throws from four players and a bucket from Rutledge to lead 27-24 with 4:15 remaining in the half.
NM State saw its largest lead at the end of the half as the Aggies outscored UNM 9-2 in the final 3:10 leading up to halftime.
The Aggies shot 50 percent (12-24) in the first 20 minutes while holding UNM to 31 percent (9-29) from the floor. NM State led 22-12 on the boards in the first half. The Aggies went 9-of-9 from the charity stripe while UNM was 7-of-9. NM State committed 13 turnovers and forced nine Lobo miscues in the half. NM State's bench led the UNM reserves 11-6 in the first.
Soto's bucket to open the second half gave the Aggies their largest lead of the game at 38-28 to open the second half. But UNM strung together 12 straight points to take a 43-39 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining.
The lead went back and forth between the rivals for the rest of the game with five ties and eight lead changes in the final dozen minutes of play as neither team led by more than three through the end of the contest.
Torrance led UNM with a double-double of 11 points and 15 boards. Three other Lobos scored in double figures including guard Caroline Durbin (15), forward Deeva Vaughn (13) and guard Lauren Taylor (10).
NM State plays at home again on Sunday against the Bears of Shaw University. The teams' first meeting will tip at 3 p.m. inside the Pan Am.