The New Mexico State women’s basketball earned a 67-65 victory in a back and forth affair at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Tuesday night.
The Islanders (5-5) started the game quick, getting a bucket just five seconds into the game. However, NM State (6-3) ripped off an 11-2 run including a three from Monique Mills and six points in the paint from Adenike Aderinto. Then, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi got hot from three and closed the quarter on a 20-7 run to take a 24-18 lead into the second quarter.
NM State started the second on a heater, getting back-to-back buckets in the paint from Aderinto followed by another three from Monique Mills to give the Aggies a 25-24 with 6:58 until the half. Next, a three from Gia Pack and a fast-break lay in from Aaliyah Prince before a Corpus Christi bucket gave the Aggies a 30-29 lead at the media timeout with 4:39 in the quarter. The two sides ratcheted up the defense out of the timeout and the Islanders led 35-33 at halftime.
After Corpus Christi extended its lead to 41-33 with 8:13 in the third, New Mexico State began chipping away at the lead. The Aggies pulled to within two at 43-41, forcing an Islander timeout with 4:23 to go in the third. From there Stabresa McDaniel dilled back-to-back threes and got a lay in for a 49-47 lead. After the Islanders made one of two free throws, Brooke Salas made a three with 7.2 seconds for a 52-48 NM State lead heading into the fourth.
The two sides started the fourth trading the buckets, with NM State getting six points in the first five minutes of the period from Aderinto as it took a 60-58 lead into the media timeout with 4:29 to play. After a Salas layup and two free throws from Aderinto, the Aggies held a 64-60 lead with 54.2 seconds. Gia Pack then sank two free throws with 8.4 seconds left but the Islanders nailed a three to cut the lead to 66-65 with just 3.2 seconds to play.
The Aggies were able to inbound the ball to Salas who went to the line to ice the game with 1.2 seconds. She missed the first free throw but nailed the second while Texas A&M – Corpus Christi was unable to get a shot off at the other end and NM State took home the 67-65 win.
Adenike Aderinto led the Aggies with a career-high 18 points on 8-11 shooting from the field. Salas added 16 points and nine rebounds while McDaniel scored 10 off the bench. Despite struggling to score the last few games, Gia Pack had a monster all-around effort with nine points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and five steals.
NM State shot 39.1 percent from the field while being outrebounded 38-32. The Aggies forced 22 turnovers while only turning the ball over 12 times. Defensively, New Mexico State held the Islanders leading scorer, Alexes Bryant to just six points in 28 minutes.
The Aggies continue their road swing on Thursday, Dec. 20, against South Alabama as part of the Florida International Holiday Tournament in Miami. NM State then plays either Alcorn State or FIU on Friday, Dec. 21, also as part of the FIU Holiday Tournament.