The New Mexico State women’s basketball team bowed out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 97-61loss against third-seeded Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday night.
“All year long this team has battled,” said head coach Brooke Atkinson. “They put together a heck of year, a heck of a streak, a heck of a run, and just coming into this environment, Iowa State is a good basketball team, I thought we battled them.”
Playing in front of a raucous Cyclone crowd, the Aggies started the game blow-for-blow with Iowa State with Gia Pack and Monique Mills hitting threes as the two sides were tied at 8 with 6:41 in the first. Iowa State then went on a 10-0 run to lead 18-8. However, the Aggies pulled within four, 20-16 after back-to-back threes from Pack and Brooke Salas at the 2:18 mark. The Cyclones made a free throw and a basket to close the quarter and NM State trailed 23-16 after one.
The second quarter was all Cyclones as they stopped missing and outscored the Aggies 27-10 in the period. NM State shot just 10-43 in the half while ISU went 18-35 from the field and 6-11 from deep as the Aggies trailed 50-26 at the half.
The third quarter was more of the same with Iowa State’s size causing problems for New Mexico State. Monique Mills drilled a three with 9:25 in the third to make it 52-29 before a 6-0 Cyclone run pushed their lead to 29 with 7:58 in the period. The Aggies were able to bring it back within 22 at 60-38 before ISU closed the third on a 20-6 run to lead 80-44 going into the fourth.
Despite trailing, NM State continued to play hard but the Iowa State stayed hot from the field. The Cyclones’ lead ballooned to 92-52 with 3:55 to play. From there, NM State battled but still fell to a final tally of 97-61.
NM State shot 21-77 (27.3 percent) from the field while the Cyclones shot a scorching 34-70 (48.6 percent) from the field and 9-23 (39.1 percent) from three. The Aggies turned it over just 8 times to 12 for ISU but were outrebounded 59-33 on the afternoon.
Salas finished with her 21stdouble-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds in her final game in the Crimson and White. Pack recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 boards while Kalei Atkinson added 10.
Salas finishes her career second on the all-time scoring list (1,931), first on the all-time block list (153), third on the all-time steals list (233) and fifth on the all-time rebounds list (952). As a team, the Aggies wrap up the 2018-19 season with 26 wins, tied for a school record, while their 17-game winning streak during the season is also tied for a program record.