LAS VEGAS – Soufia Inoussa and Adrianna Henderson each matched their career high for points and the Aggies led for 37:31 of game time in a 73-61 win over UT Rio Grande Valley in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Orleans Arena.
Gia Pack moved into sole possession of fifth place on the NM State all-time scoring list and now has 1,671 points.
The Vaqueros jumped out to a 6-2 lead early but the Aggies responded by holding the Vaqueros to just 2-14 shooting in the quarter to lead 11-8 through one. UT Rio Grande Valley never led again after the 6:21 mark of the first quarter.
NM State opened it up in the second quarter, taking a 22-12 lead after a three from Henderson and back-to-back transition layups from Tayelin Grays. UTRGV would cut it to eight but the Aggies closed the second quarter with threes from Rodrea Echols and Inoussa to take a 32-20 advantage into the half.
The Vaqueros made a run to start the third and cut the deficit to six, 36-30. However, a three-point play from Adenike Aderinto ignited an 8-0 NM State run that was capped by a three from Gia Pack for a 44-30 Aggie cushion. UTRGV battled hard but NM State took a 49-38 lead into the final quarter after a three-point play from Shania Harper.
New Mexico State closed the game going 12-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter with Pack and Henderson each shooting 6-6 from the line. NM State scored 24 points in the fourth quarter.
As a team, the Aggies shot 49-percent from the field and held the Vaqueros to 31.3-percent shooting. New Mexico State also dominated the glass, outrebounding UT Rio Grande Valley 43-31.
Inoussa matched a career-high 16 points, which she also scored against UTRGV on Feb. 22. Henderson also matched a career-high with 15 points while Pack scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds in her first game since Feb. 6.
New Mexico State is now set for a semifinal rematch against Kansas City on Friday, March 13, at 1 p.m. (MT). Last season, the Aggies defeated the Roos in overtime to behind 36 points from Pack to advance to the conference championship game. Fans can catch all the action on Friday on ESPN+.