The New Mexico State women’s basketball team fell 68-67 on a four-point play with 2.3 seconds remaining against South Alabama in the FIU Holiday Tournament on Thursday afternoon.
The Aggies (6-4) got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first seven points to take a 7-0 lead on an Adenike Aderinto lay-in with 7:42 in the quarter. Then, the Jaguars (10-0) went on a run of their own to take an 8-7 lead. After the media timeout, NM State took a 15-11 thanks to a three from Stabresa McDaniel. However, South Alabama closed the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 17-15 lead.
The two sides went back and forth to start the second with New Mexico State taking a 21-19 lead into the media timeout with 6:58 to play in the half. Then, USA took a 27-23 lead with 3:23 in the period but NM State responded with a 9-0 run, all from the free throw line for a 31-27 halftime lead. The Aggies sank 12 free throws in the second with Monique Mills going 4-4 from the stripe during that time. Gia Pack led the way for New Mexico State in the half, recording seven points and eight rebounds.
New Mexico State then opened up a 37-29 lead to start the third, leading to a South Alabama timeout. However, USA got hot from three, making three in a row to take a 39-37 lead with four minutes in the quarter. The two sides then went back and forth from there and entered the fourth tied at 45.
Both sides got hot in the fourth, trading buckets with USA holding a 54-52 at the media timeout with 4:41 to play. After Pack tied it up at 55, Brooke Salas scored eight of NM State’s next 10 points to give the Aggies a 65-60 lead with 19.9 seconds. The Jaguars then scored a quick lay-up before forcing a turnover and making two free throws to make it a one-point game at 65-64 with 5.8 seconds remaining. Then, Pack made two more free throws to push New Mexico State’s lead to 67-64 with 4.6 seconds. However, South Alabama made a three pointer and drew a foul with 2.3 seconds to play. Savannah Jones converted the free throw and the Aggies were unable to get a shot off for a 68-67 win for the Jaguars.
Brooke Salas led the Aggies with 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. Gia Pack also notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds for her fourth of the year. This was the second time this season both Pack and Salas have notched double-doubles in the same game, the last was Nov. 26, against Northern New Mexico.
New Mexico State outrebounded the Jaguars 49-47 while turning it over 17 times to 16 for USA. The Aggies were also excellent from the stripe, making 27-31, a season-high.
The Aggies are back in action in the FIU Holiday tournament tomorrow, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m. (MT) when they take on Alcorn State in their last game in Miami.