CHICAGO, IL (KTSM) – Gia Pack moved into 8th place on the NM State all-time scoring list with her fifth double-double of the season (20 points, 11 rebounds) and the Aggies got off to a 2-0 start to Western Athletic Conference play with a 73-60 road win over Chicago State on Thursday night in the Jones Convocation Center.
New Mexico State (5-10, 2-0 WAC) was hot early and led 10-4 after a pair of free throws from Pack at the 5:01 mark. After the Cougars (0-16, 0-3) closed within three, 14-11, NM state closed the first on an 8-2 run to lead 22-13 after one.
The second quarter was all Aggies as they opened up their lead to 30-13 after a three from Amanda Soderqvist. NM State cruised for the rest of the half and led 42-24 at the break. New Mexico State shot 9-16 from the field in the quarter while outscoring Chicago State 22-11 in the period. Pack had 14 points at the half.
However, CSU refused to give up and got hot from three as they chipped the lead down to nine, 50-41, at the 4:01 mark of the third. Then, a free throw from Nana Sule and a Soufia Inoussa steal and score sparked a 9-0 NM State run to end the quarter and give the Aggies a 59-41 lead.
New Mexico State was able to answer every Cougar bucket in the fourth and held its 18 point lead, 68-50, with 5:43 left to play. After Chicago State closed within 11 at the 1:58 mark, the Aggies locked in defensively and came away with a 73-60 win over the Cougars, and a 2-0 start to their title defense.
Pack moved into 8th on the NM State all-time scoring list as her double-double pushed her past Sasha Weber. The senior from Phoenix now sits at 1,523 points, one of just nine Aggies to score at least 1,500 points.
Aaliyah Prince scored 12 for NM State in her first game back from the flu and Inoussa and Adenike Aderinto finished with eight points each. As a squad, NM State dominated inside, outscoring the Cougars 48-30 in the paint and outrebounded them 37-26. The Aggies shot 44.8-percent from the floor on the night.
NM State now heads to Kansas City to take on the Roos in a rematch of last seasons thrilling, overtime WAC Tournament semifinal at 12 p.m. (MT).