NMSU Women's Basketball Falls in Hotel Encanto Tournament Game
The New Mexico State women's basketball team saw its one-point lead vanquished in the final seconds after a layup by Southern Utah gave the visiting Thunderbirds a 58-57 victory in the final game of the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic inside the Pan American Center Sunday.
Southern Utah retook the lead with 4:41 remaining in the game and held onto it until a layup by Aggie sophomore Jasmine Rutledge gave NM State a slim 57-56 lead with 21 seconds remaining. SUU called timeout with 10 ticks left on the clock to set up its final shot.
The Thunderbirds' leading scorer in the game, Hailey Mandelko, drove to the hoop and dropped in a bucket to put Southern Utah up 58-57 with less than two seconds left on the clock. A last-second shot by NM State was off the mark as the Aggies dropped to 1-5 on the season. Southern Utah earned its first win of the year to improve to 1-4.
Rutledge matched her career high set earlier this season against UTEP with 14 points. Freshman guard Simone Ruedin also set career highs with nine points and 27 minutes played against the T-Birds. Junior forward Malia Magazzeni grabbed a career high seven rebounds to lead NM State and matched her career mark of 30 minutes of action on the court. Senior forward Tabytha Wampler led all scorers with 20 points.
NM State shot 41.8 percent (23-55) from the floor while holding Southern Utah to 34.6 percent (18-52). The Thunderbirds capitalized on its 42-29 rebounding advantage to score 12 second-chance points to four for the Aggies. SUU went to the free throw line more often and made 19-of-22 attempts while NM State sank 6-of-9 tries. The Aggies won the turnover battle committing 14 miscues while forcing 18 SUU errors.
Wampler and Rutledge started the scoring to give NM State an early 4-0 lead. But SUU used a 13-0 run over the next four minutes to build its largest lead of the game at 13-4. The Aggies responded with an 8-0 rally of their own sparked by two buckets from Ruedin to cut the T-Bird lead to 13-12 with 9:02 left in the first half.
SUU maintained a narrow lead until a basket by Wampler tied the score at 21-21 with 4:08 left before intermission. A 3-point bucket by sophomore Dré Chenier gave NM State a 26-23 advantage and sparked an 8-2 run to end the half. The Aggies held their largest lead of the game at the break with a 31-25 edge.
NM State shot only 40.6 percent (13-32) from the floor in the half while Southern Utah shot 37.5 percent (9-24). SUU held an 18-17 edge on the boards. NM State turned the ball over just six times and forced 11 SUU turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The Aggies made 3-of-9 from behind the arc while SUU made 2-of-5 from long range.
Neither team led by more than six points in a tight back-and-forth second half. NM State kept the lead through the first few minutes of the half before SUU caught the Aggies in a 35-35 tie with 16:20 left. The lead changed hands seven times over the next 12 minutes.
The last tie of the game was at the 6:10 mark with the scoreboard showing 50-50. SUU maintained a one-possession lead after the 4:42 mark until Rutledge's layup with 21 ticks left.
Thunderbird forward Carli Moreland found her game in the second half against the Aggies with a double-double effort after the break consisting of 10 points and a dozen rebounds. She finished with 14 boards. Mandelko led four T-Birds in double-figures with 14 points. Brenna Gates added 13 tallies and Tayler Anderson totaled 12 for Southern Utah.
NM State begins a three-game road swing at UTEP on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. inside the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.