The New Mexico State women’s basketball team trailed for 36 minutes of game time but came back to beat Denver 66-64 on Tuesday night at the Pan American Center.
The Aggies (5-2) fell behind 9-4 early in the first before baskets from Stabresa McDaniel and Dominique Mills cut the Pioneer (7-3) lead to 11-10 at the media timeout. However, Denver went on a 6-2 run to take a 17-12 lead with 1:16 to play in the quarter. Kalei Atkinson then made two free throws with 41 seconds left in the period to cut the deficit to 17-14 at the end of the first.
NM State opened the second quarter on a 4-0 run to take an 18-17 lead on a bucket from Monique Mills. The two sides went back and forth with NM State holding a 26-25 at the media timeout. However, the Pioneers closed the half on a 7-2 run to take a 32-27 lead into the break. Aaliyah Prince and Stabresa McDaniel led the Aggies at the half with eight points each.
The third quarter saw the Aggies tie the game at 38 on a Gia Pack lay in with 5:34 in the period. However, the Pioneers got back on track and ended the frame with a 52-44 lead.
After Denver stretched its lead to 10 at the start of the fourth, New Mexico State began chipping away at the Pioneers lead. Four-straight points from Dominique Mills cut the deficit to two at 56-54, forcing Denver to call timeout with 4:51 to play. After Denver took a 60-57 lead, Prince made a free throw followed by a bucket from Pack and two more free throws from Dominique Mills to give the Aggies a 61-60 lead with 1:50 to go.
The two sides traded buckets until Pack drilled two free throws with 30 seconds left in the game to give New Mexico State a 65-64 lead. After two strong defensive possessions and a turnover, Dominique Mills went to the line to the ice game with 3.2 seconds on the clock. She missed her first free throw but made the second and Denver’s half court heave at the buzzer bounced out for the 66-64 Aggie win. Dominique Mills dropped seven points in the fourth.
Brooke Salas led NM State with 15 points while McDaniel poured in 12 in her Aggie debut. Prince also added 11 for New Mexico State and Dominique Mills recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Defensively, the Aggies held the nation’s third-best three-point shooting team to just 14.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Pioneers entered Tuesday night’s game averaging 43.4 percent shooting from three.
The New Mexico State women’s basketball team is back in action as it looks to even the season series with Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. (MT). As always, kids 12 and under as well as students with a valid student ID receive free entry to all NM State home games.