ST. GEORGE, Utah – NM State (12-13, 7-6 WAC) dropped their third straight game to Utah Tech (14-8, 7-5 WAC) Saturday after the Trailblazers put up 90 points on the Aggies, dropping them below .500, and bringing their conference record to 7-6.
The Trailblazers were getting whatever they wanted on the offensive end of the ball, shooting 60.9% from the floor and 50% from three, knocking down ten triples. Breaunna Gillen (21) and Amber Kartchner (26) led the trailblazers in scoring combining for 47 points. Utah Tech (32) shot three times the number of free-throws as the Aggies (10). Molly Kaiser (11), Ashlee Strawbridge (11) and Taylor Donaldson (10) paced the Aggies in scoring, all surpassing the double figure mark.
The first quarter got off to somewhat of a slow start after taking nearly two minutes for either team to find a score. Kartchner got the Trailblazers on the board first with a three pointer – the first of three made for her in the game. After Sylena Peterson and Ashlee Strawbridge were able to hit a pair of jumpers, the Aggies trailed the Trailblazers 5-4 with 7:40 left in the first. A pair of made free throws pushed Utah Tech’s lead back to three. Shania Harper took a feed from Tayelin Grays and made a layup right under the basket making the score 10-14 with just over two minutes to go in the quarter. This would mark the final time the Aggies were within striking distance of the Trailblazers as Utah Tech proceeded to go on a 25-14 run the remainder of the half pushing their lead to 19 headed into the break.
The Aggies were shooting 5-16 (31.3%) at the half and had yet to make a three or take a free throw attempt. On the other end, Utah Tech was making almost everything the put up, shooting 13-21 (61.9%) as a team while draining 6-11 shots (54.5%) from behind the arc as they headed into the locker rooms.
Down but not out, the Aggies were looking to chip into the lead but were going to need some players to step up on both ends of the floor if they wanted to do so. Tayelin Grays hit a running layup to score the opening points of the second half and bring the score to 43-26. The Aggies were successful in holding the Trailblazers off the scoreboard for over three minutes of action. Amber Kartchner broke the Utah Tech scoring drought with her second made three of the game giving the Trailblazers a 20-point lead with 6:58 left in the third. Strawbridge later responded by hitting the Aggies first three of the game right in front of her bench bringing the deficit back to 19. Utah Tech would go on to close out the third quarter by hitting four of their next seven shots including a made three while holding NM State to 3-9 shooting, 0-3 from deep.
The fourth quarter did not get much better for the Aggies. They were able to put up 20 points in the period, but that was after Utah Tech produced 29 points, only missing two shots (9-11) in the frame. In addition, the Trailblazers were able to add nine more points from the charity stripe giving them 24 total points from the line in the game. Despite being down nearly 40 points, the Aggies continued to fight for possessions, hoping to take something positive out of this game as they return home this week for a pair of games. In the end, Utah Tech was able to score more points on the Aggies than any team has been able to this season, defeating the crimson and white, 90-57.