DENVER, CO (KTSM) – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team captured a 78-75 win in a back-and-forth affair at Denver behind Gia Pack’s 29 points on Saturday night.
The Aggies (1-1) started the game off on their heels as the Pioneers (0-2) opened an early 10-4 lead. However, Adrianna Henderson got the rim followed by back-to-back threes from Pack to tie the game up at 12 midway through the first. After Denver went up 17-12, NM State ended the quarter on a 9-2 run to lead 23-19 after one.
New Mexico State continued to roll into the second quarter and led 33-26 at the 5:34 mark after a three-point play from Aaliyah Prince. The Pioneers then pulled within three at 48-35 before a steal-and-score from Pack at the end of the period gave the Aggies a 40-35 lead going into the halftime break.
With the Aggies leading 44-39 early in the third, the Denver offense came alive. The Pioneers went on a 12-1 run to take a 51-44 lead with 3:24 in the period. With Denver leading 56-52 at the one minute mark, Pack drilled a three before a Shania Harper jumper and NM State trailed 58-57 at the end of the third.
The two teams traded buckets, and the lead, multiple times to start the period and were tied up at 66 at the 5:01 mark. Then, Pack hit a three and Micayla Buckner made one at the line for a 69-67 Aggie lead. After the Pioneers tied it at 69, Soufia Inoussa made two free throws to make it 71-69. However, Denver hit a free throw followed by a three to lead 73-71 with 1:35 to play.
Then, Prince took over, getting to the rim, sinking a jumper and making a free throw to give NM State back the lead at 76-73. After a Denver free throw, NM State was able to run the clock down to four seconds before Pack was fouled. She calmly stepped to the line and sank both attempts for a 78-75 Aggie win.
Pack was on fire as she dropped 29 points with nine rebounds and she tied a career-high with five three-pointers on 10 attempts. Prince recorded her second 20-point game of the season as she dropped 20 on 9-16 shooting with three steals. Inoussa, a freshman, scored nine points and was perfect from the field.
As a team, NM State shot a red-hot 46.2-percent from the field with a 40-percent three-point percentage. The Aggies locked down the perimeter, holding Denver to just 24-percent three-point shooting on 25 attempts and 36.5-percent shooting overall.
New Mexico State is back in action when it returns to the Mesilla Valley to take on UTEP in the Battle of I-10 on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m.