The New Mexico State women’s basketball team rode a strong defensive performance to its 19th-straight Western Athletic Conference home win, and seventh-straight victory overall, 61-48 over CSU Bakersfield on Thursday night at the Pan American Center.
The ‘Runners flexed their defensive prowess early, racing out to an early 5-0 lead. However, buckets from Adenike Aderinto and Gia Pack brought the Aggies within one at 5-4 with 6:08 in the first. Both defenses continued to play well and NM State trailed 20-8 going into the second quarter of action. New Mexico State was held to just 3-14 shooting from the field in the period.
After CSU Bakersfield extended its lead to 14-8 at the 8:44 mark of the second quarter, Brooke Salas made a three and a layup before a Gia Pack jumper gave New Mexico State a 15-14 lead. Coming out of the media timeout, CSUB went on a 9-2 run and took a 23-17 lead at the four minute mark of the second. NM State responded with an 11-0 run of its own, including threes from Salas and Monique Mills, to lead 28-23 in the final minute of the half. However, Bakersfield scored the half’s final four points and the Aggies led 28-27 at the break.
Neither side shot the ball well in the first half with NM State shooting 32.3-percent while Bakersfield shot 34.5%. The Aggies outrebounded the ‘Runners 23-16 in the half.
The third quarter started with two quick baskets from Salas and Dominique Mills to kick off a 10-2 Aggie run which gave NM State a 48-30 lead midway through the quarter. Bakersfield then closed to within four at 38-34 before a Tayelin Grays three started a 9-2 run for New Mexico State to end the quarter. The Aggies led 47-36 heading into the final quarter of play.
Stabresa McDaniel drilled a three to start the fourth before a ‘Runner turnover forced Bakersfield to call a timeout just a minute into the period with NM State leading 50-36. CSUB brought the game back to within 10 points, 52-42 with 5:36 to play but back-to-back layups from Pack ended andy chance of a ‘Runners comeback and New Mexico State cruised to a 61-48 win.
The Aggies defense was stifling all night as they turned Bakersfield over 18 times while holding them to just 29.8-percent (17-57) shooting from the field. NM State shot 38.5-percent (25-65) and outrebounded CSUB 44-33.
Salas led New Mexico State with 21 points and 12 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. Pack added 12 points and nine boards while McDaniel scored seven off the bench for the Aggies.
The New Mexico State women’s basketball team is back in action on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. (MT) when it hosts GCU in a WAC matchup. That game is set to be streamed live via the WAC Digital Network.