By Albert Luna
Senior day on Saturday left the Aggie women’s basketball team with a bad taste in their mouths. The women suffered their first lost since December 29 and lost their bid at going undefeated in conference play by dropping their season finale, 66-55, to UTRGV.
Three players will be graduating in May: Abby Scott, Shanice Davis, and Sasha Weber.
“I can’t be prouder of these girls,” says Head Coach Mark Trakh. “When they got here, this program was just starting the rebuilding process and now as seniors they’re part of a winning team.”
The Aggies were fresh off a week of clinching the outright WAC title for a second consecutive season, at least guaranteeing them a spot in post-season play (either the NCAA tournament or the WNIT).
In the first period of play, the Aggie blew open layups and open three-point attempts in the process. After the first media timeout, the Aggies found themselves in a 9-5 deficit with 4:51 in the game to play. The quarter featured a barrage of three-point shooting from the Vaqueros, and to their credit, they made four of them, good for a 50 percent clip.
“They just did an excellent job at shooting the ball, and credit to them, they came out absolutely on fire,” Trakh says.
The second quarter would not go any better for NMSU, as they were outscored by four in the quarter, 14-10, and at one point were down by as many as 15. The main opponent for the Aggies in the half came in the form of the Vaqueros’ guard Shawnte Golf. Golf scored on multiple isolation plays, including a few that resulted in three-pointers.
“Golf was just playing really good today and she hurt us, you can hold her to 6-16 shooting, but going 4-8 from three hurts us even more,” Trakh says.
As a result of her, and some very lackluster turnovers on the part of the NMSU, they went into the half down, 36-25, after a 4-0 run to bring them within striking distance.
Coming out of the half, the Aggies showed much of the same in terms of effort that they played with in the first half. Then, it seemed that they flipped the script. After trailing by as much as 17, the team was able to use a nice run at the end of the quarter to pull within as much as six points. The fourth quarter was equally competitive, with the Aggies finally waking up their offense.
But it was too late. Despite cutting the lead to as little as two with four minutes to go after a Shanice Davis three-layup and the foul, the Vaqueros took it from there, not allowing the Aggies to muster together anymore points the remainder of the game, as they closed on a 9-0 run, en route to a 66-55 win.
“It just hurts because we could have been a number 13 seed or even higher in the NCAA tournament, but now we’re probably going to be somewhere close to number 16, which we will be happy to play anyone,” Trakh says.
The Aggies will next fly to Las Vegas to compete in the WAC tournament starting on Friday.
Albert Luna may be reached at ALuna32@NMSU.edu
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