BAKERSFIELD, CA (KTSM) – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team fell 60-59 in a grinder at CSU Bakersfield on Thursday night in a defensive slugfest.
Both the Aggies (7-13, 4-3 WAC) and Runners (13-7, 5-2 WAC) both came out of the gates locked in defensively. Both teams shot 3-13 (23.1-percent) from the field in the quarter and the Aggies led 12-10 after one. NMSU forced four turnovers in the quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same, as the two programs who hang their hats on defense continued to trade stops and force turnovers. However, NMSU was able to stay in front and led 21-19 at the half. NMSU held the CSU Bakersfield to 30-percent shooting (6-20) in the half.
CSU Bakersfield got out to a fast start to the second half, building a 29-24 lead by the 7:15 mark of the third. The Aggies continued to battle but trailed 37-32 at the 2:30 mark. Then, NMSU went on a mini 6-2 run and trailed 39-38 heading into the fourth quarter of play.
Gia Pack quickly made back-to-back buckets to start the fourth and spark a run that gave NMSU a 46-39 lead. However, the Runners quickly bounced back and took a 49-46 lead with 5:24 to play. The two conference foes traded buckets before Aaliyah Prince put the Aggies ahead by one, 52-51, with 3:39 left in the game.
However, CSU Bakersfield was able to bounce back and took a 60-56 lead after a three-point play with 30 seconds to play. Then Amanda Soderqvist drilled a three and the Runners missed two free throws at the other end to give NMSU one last shot. However, a jumper missed before a put-back at the buzzer rimmed out and the Aggies fell 60-59.
Pack led the way with 21 points and seven boards and went a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Prince chipped in 14 points on 7-12 shooting from the floor.
NMSU is now back in action as it heads to Phoenix to take on GCU on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. (MT). Fans can stream that game live on the WAC Digital Network.