Grays’ career day leads New Mexico State to conference win


PHOENIX – Tayelin Grays finished with a career high 16 points and Rodrea Echols scored seven points in overtime as the Aggies opened Western Athletic Conference play with a 61-53 overtime win over Grand Canyon in GCU Arena on Friday evening. 

The Aggie (3-5, 1-0 WAC) defense was also excellent as it held the WAC’s leading scorer, Katie Scott, to just nine points and one field goal made.  

GCU (8-2, 0-1 WAC) opened the game with an 8-6 lead but NM State went on a 10-2 run, capped by a three from Jade Bradley, to take a 16-10 lead into the second quarter. However, the Lopes went on a 12-2 run of their own to open a 22-18 lead with 3:34 to play in the half. From there, New Mexico State scored the final nine points of the half to lead 27-22. 

The third quarter started off back-and-forth but the Lopes defense tightened up and only allowed nine Aggie points in the period and NM State trailed 37-36 heading into the final quarter of play. The fourth quarter was more of the same with both defenses proving a challenge to score on. Then, Nana Sule knocked down a pair of free throws to give NM State a 49-47 lead with 39 seconds to play. However, GCU scored with 17 seconds to pay and the two conference rivals headed to overtime.  

The overtime period was all Aggies, however, with Echols stepping up and scoring seven points in the extra period as NM State outscored the Lopes 12-4 to take home the 61-53 win.  

Grays’ career night led four different Aggies who scored in double figures with Soufia Inoussa and Echols scoring 11 and Aaliyah Prince adding 10. Grays also pulled down a career-high nine boards as Inoussa also grabbed nine rebounds.  

As a team, the Aggies outrebounded the Lopes 48-31 and forced 26 GCU turnovers for 24 NM State points. The Aggies also dominated the paint, outscoring Grand Canyon 30-20 inside. 

New Mexico State and GCU are back at it in another conference showdown tomorrow, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. (MT) from GCU Arena. Fans can watch tomorrow’s action on the WAC Digital Network

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