NMSU set for season opener

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The NM State women’s basketball team starts its push towards a fifth-straight Western Athletic Conference Championship at the Pan American Center against UT Permian Basin on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. (MT).

 

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Two Time for the Two Time

NM State hosts a doubleheader to ring in the new season at the Pan American Center on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Fans who purchase a ticket to NM State’s season-opener against UTPB at 5 p.m. (MT) can move to sections 113 and 114 at the conclusion of the game and watch the men’s team open its season against North Dakota State at 7:30 p.m. as part of the WAC-Summit League Challenge.

 

Strive for Five

The New Mexico State women’s basketball team heads into the season with four-straight Western Athletic Conference regular-season championships and three of the last four WAC tournament championships. Since the 2014-15 season, NM State is 51-5 in WAC play including a 27-1 record at home. The Aggies haven’t lost a conference game at the Pan American Center since the final game of the 2015-16 season against UT Rio Grande Valley, a streak of two years and 14 games.

 

A Look at the Falcons

UT Permian Basin visits the Mesilla Valley for the second-straight season with the Aggies taking an 85-58 victory in the Pan Am last season. Gia Pack scored 18 points to go with seven rebounds while Monique Mills added 15 and Dominique Mills scored 11.

 

The Falcons (DII) are led offensively by junior Khali Pippins-Tryon who averaged 12.8 points during the 2017-18 season to go with a .370 three-point shooting clip. Pippins-Tryon is second on the team in rebounds per game at 3.8. Teammate Kayla Bretherton led the Falcons in rebounds at 4.0 per game.

 

UTPB is picked to finish ninth in the Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll while Pippins-Tryon earned All-LSC honorable mention honors following the 2017-18 season.

 

2017-18 Season Highlights

– NM State was named the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference by both coaches and media.

– Brooke Salas was named WAC Player of the Year while Gia Pack earned First-Team All-WAC and WAC All-Tournament honors.

– Salas became the 23rd Aggie to join the 1,000-point club during a game against Chicago State at home on Jan. 6, 2018.

– NM State won its fourth-straight conference championship, a program best.

– The Aggies made their fourth postseason appearance in a row as they played in the WNIT after three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2015-17.

 

Preseason Picks

New Mexico State was picked to win its fifth-straight WAC championship prior to the season by the league’s head coaches and the media. In the head coaches’ poll, the Aggies were awarded 7-of-9 possible first-place votes with CSU Bakersfield securing the other two. The media awarded NM State all nine first-place votes in its poll while Brooke Salas was named preseason WAC Player of the Year and Gia Pack earned preseason First-Team All-WAC honors in both polls.

 

New Kids on the Block

NM State added a number of players to bolster its squad for the 2018-19 season including junior college transfers Rodrea Echols, Nana Sule, Adenike Aderinto and freshman Tayelin Grays. Stabresa McDaniel also makes her Aggie debut after sitting out 2017-18.

 

A graduate student from Dallas, Texas, McDaniel comes to the Aggies after time at Minnesota and North Texas. She averaged 3.7 and 2.0 points in 27 games as a freshman at Minnesota and 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 22 games as a sophomore, also at Minnesota. McDaniel was ranked the 24th prospect in Texas, 40th regionally and 57th nationally at her position out of high school.

 

Echols, a junior point guard from Memphis, Tenn., averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game as a freshman at Oklahoma State during the 2016-17 season. She then transferred to Trinity Valley Community College where she averaged 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 2017-18. Coming out of Overton High School, Echols was ranked 80th in the HoopGurlz Top 100 and 18th at her position by ESPN.

 

Sule is an aggressive forward who comes to NM State from Chipola College. The Abuja, Nigeria, native averaged 6.2 points and 6.9 rebounds during her sophomore campaign at Chipola. She also succeeds off the court, earning the Charlton D. Keen Scholar-Athlete Award as well as the FCSAA Sandy Miller Academic Award.

 

Grays hails from Dayton, Texas, where she scored 2,001 points at Dayton High School while being named District 21-5A Offensive MVP as both a junior and a senior. She also earned TABC All-Region 3 honors as a senior.

 

The final new addition to the Aggie roster is Aderinto, who was named a First-Team NJCAA All-American while averaging 13.8 points and 11.8 rebounds at South Georgia Tech. Aderinto helped guide the Lady Jets to their third consecutive GSCAA title, second consecutive NJCAA Region XVII tournament championship, second NJCAA Division J championship and fourth appearance in the national tournament in five years. She also recorded 21 doubles-doubles during the 2017-18 campaign. On top of that, Aderinto was named a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American, earned NJCAA Division I All-tournament honors and was awarded GCAA Player of the Year.

 

Super Salas

The Aggies return reigning WAC Player of the Year Brooke Salas, who was picked to repeat as Player of the Year by the league’s coaches and media. Salas has had an outstanding career in the Crimson and White and sits at 14th All-Time in the Aggie record books with 1,302 points. She became the 23rd member of the 1,000-Point club in program history during a home game against Chicago State on Jan. 6, 2018.

 

The guard from Placentia, Calif., was named an All-WAC Newcomer after her freshman campaign and earned First-Team All-WAC honors after her sophomore season before being named the WAC player of the Year as a junior. She has also received six WAC Player of the Week awards to go along with being named to the WAC All-Defensive team after the 2017-18 season. Nationally, Salas was awarded College Sports Madness Player of the Week Honors during the 2016-17 season.

 

Salas led New Mexico State in points (19.1), rebounds (7.7), blocks (1.8) and steals (2.2) per game while also pacing the conference in points per game and finishing third in the WAC in rebounds per game after the 2017-18 campaign. Her .835 free-throw shooting clip was tops in the conference

 

Wolf Pack

Joining Salas in the Aggie backcourt is junior Gia Pack. Pack is an aggressive scorer who was second on the team in points (16), rebounds (7.6) and assists (1.8) per game.

 

The junior from Phoenix, Ariz., earned First-Team All-WAC honors after her sophomore season as well as earning WAC All-Tournament honors the same year. Prior to this season, Pack received preseason First-Team All-WAC honors.

 

Up Next

The New Mexico State women’s basketball team hits the road to take on Western Michigan on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. (MT). The Aggies then stay on the road when they head to El Paso for the Battle of I 10 on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m. NM State’s game at Western Michigan will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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