NMSU captures fifth consecutive WAC regular season championship

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With a shot at clinching its fifth-straight Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship slipping through its fingers, the New Mexico State women’s basketball team held Kansas City to just four fourth-quarter points as it erased a 12-point deficit with 8:24 to win 68-61 in the Pan American Center Thursday night, its 12th-straight win. 

 

Monique Mills got the Aggies going with a three just thirty points into the game. After forcing a turnover, Gia Pack scored to make it 5-0 NM State just 37 seconds into the game. NM State then went up 13-7 after a three from Monique Mills at the 6:16 mark. From there Kansas City closed the quarter on a 19-2 run to end the quarter with a 26-15 lead. New Mexico State shot just 26.7 percent from the field while the Roos hit 10 of 16 shots (62.5%).

 

The second quarter started the same way as the first, with a three from Monique Mills to cut the Aggies’ deficit to 26-18. The Roos then went back up 10 at 28-18 before Pack hit two free throws and a layup and Adenike Aderinto made a lay-in to pull within two, 26-24 with 4:35 left in the half. Although, UMKC then scored the quarter’s final-four points for a 30-25 halftime lead. 

 

After Aderinto tied the game up at 33 out of the half, Kansas City went on a 13-2 run to lead 46-35 with 6:11 to play. Brooke Salas then scored eight-straight Aggie points to pull NM State within six at 49-43 with 3:23 left in the third. However, the Roos went on a 9-3 run of their own to lead 57-46 heading into the fourth.

 

Kansas City made a free throw to extend its lead to 58-46 to start the fourth, but that’s when the Aggies came alive, pulling within four, 58-54, with 5:45 to play after an Aaliyah Prince jumper. The Roos then drilled a three to go back up 61-54. That, however would be Kansas City’s final points of the game. Prince pulled NM State within one, 61-60, with 1:52 left in regulation after a huge block and a score on the other end.

 

Then, Prince forced a turnover, leading to a Gia Pack lay-in and a New Mexico State lead, 62-61, with a minute and half left in regulation. After another bucket from Prince, Dominique Mills hit four-straight free throws to ice the game and give NM State the 68-61 win. The Aggies outscored Kansas City 22-4 in the fourth quarter, holding the Roos to just 1-17 (5.9%) shooting in the quarter. Prince scored six of her eight points in the fourth.

 

Pack led the Aggies with her fifth double-double of the year as the junior scored 18 points and pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds. Salas added her 18th double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds, including 12 second-half points. Prince and Mills both added eight points and four rebounds.

 

New Mexico State outrebounded UMKC 45-41 but turned it over 20 times to 18 for the Roos. After shooting 62.5-percent in the first quarter, Kansas City finished up at 31.3 percent for the game while NM State shot 38.3-percent.

 

The Aggies are back in action when they host Chicago State on Saturday, March 2, at 12 p.m. (MT). Join us as we celebrate Senior Day as well as cutting down the nets to celebrate our fifth-straight WAC regular-season championship.

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