NM State women set to defend WAC Tournament title

NMSU

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team looks to make its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last six seasons at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Las Vegas from March 11-14. The fifth-seeded Aggies open against UT Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, March 11, at 3:30 p.m. (MT)

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Live stats for all of this week’s #WACtion here.

Where to Watch

Aggie fans can tune into every WAC tournament game on ESPN+. Postgame press conferences are available on the WAC Digital Network.

Back(Pack)ing Up the Record Book

Despite missing the last seven games, Gia Pack ranks 6th on the NM State all-time scoring list with 1,663 points. See how she stacks up heading into the final weeks of the season.

Rank    Player                                            GP          PPG       Points

  5.          Barb Weiner (1979-83)                 121         13.8      1,666

  6.          Gia Pack (2016-pres.)                 118         14.1      1,663

  7.          Vicki Evans (1985-89)                   115         14.4      1,656

  8.          Tracy Goetsch (1988-92)              120         13.0      1,559

  9.          Sasha Weber (2012-16)                122         124       1,511

Bringing Home the Hardware

Gia Pack was named First Team All-Western Athletic Conference for the third-straight year and freshman Soufia Inoussa was named to the WAC All-Newcomer team.

Despite only playing eight conference games before suffering an injury against Chicago State on Feb. 6, Pack put up unreal numbers. The senior led the WAC in scoring (18.4) ranked third in rebounds (9.4) and second in three-point percentage (39.8).

Pack scored at least 20 points in five conference games and recorded four double-doubles in conference play and nine overall. The Phoenix, Ariz., native also notched a string of three-consecutive 25-point 10-rebound double-doubles, first against UVU with 25 and 10 on Jan. 16, then against Seattle U with 30 points and 19 rebounds on Jan. 18 and finally against UT Rio Grande Valley on Jan. 23 with 26 points and 11 boards.

Joining Pack as an All-WAC honoree is Inoussa, a freshman. Inoussa added an immediate impact in her first season as she started all 29 games, becoming the first freshman since Brooke Salas to start more than two games as a freshman.

The native of Stockholm, Sweden, averaged 7.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Inoussa scored double-figures in five WAC games including three of the last four. She dropped a career-high 16 points at UTRGV on Feb. 22 and recorded her first double-double at California Baptist with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Home Away From Home

New Mexico State is very familiar with the Orleans Arena, home of the WAC Tournament. Since the 2014-15 season, the Aggies are 10-1 in the Orleans, including four tournament championships in the last five years. Last season, New Mexico State won all three of its games en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Gia Pack also set the WAC Tournament scoring record with 86 points over three days including 36 in a semifinal win over Kansas City.

A Look at the Vaqueros

This is the second-straight season in which the Vaqueros and the Aggies will meet in the WAC tournament. A year ago, the two teams played an epic WAC Championship game that went to double-overtime and saw the Aggies win 76-73.

NM State and UT Rio Grande Valley have played twice already this season. The Aggies won 76-75 in overtime on Jan. 23 and UTRGV won in Edinburg, 74-63, on Feb. 22.

UTRGV ranks third in the WAC in scoring offense (67.6) and fifth in scoring defense (65.6). UT Rio Grande Valley’s leading scorer is Trelynn Tyler at 13.2 points per game. Amara Graham also averages double figures at 10.9 points per game.

Up Next

Should New Mexico State advance, they would play the winner of the Kansas City/Chicago State game on Friday, March 13, at 1 p.m. (MT) in the Orleans Arena.

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