LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team took down Grand Canyon 81-52 at the Pan American Center Saturday afternoon for its 20th consecutive home Western Athletic Conference win and eighth straight overall.
The Aggies’ lone league defeat was 54-51 to the same Grand Canyon team on Jan. 10 in Phoenix.
Neither side was able to get any offense going until Gia Pack scored back-to-back buckets to give the Aggies (17-6, 9-1) a 4-0 lead at the 8:20 mark of the first quarter. Grand Canyon (5-15, 3-7) then responded with an 8-2 run to take an 8-6 lead before Brooke Salas put NMSU back in the lead, 9-8, with a three right before the media timeout. From there, New Mexico State finished the first on a 10-4 run to lead 19-12 after one.
The second quarter started off with swarming Aggie defense as they went on a 12-3 run to take a 31-15 lead with 3:20 until the half. NM State continued to dominate the quarter with Brooke Salas making a layup at the buzzer for a 39-18 halftime lead. New Mexico State held the Lopes to just six points in the second quarter while Brooke Salas entered the half with a double-double at 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The third quarter started much the same as the second with the Aggies defense turning turnovers into points and a 13-2 run, including back-to-back buckets from Gia Pack, to start the quarter and giving them a 52-20 lead at the seven minute mark. After GCU got back within 30 points at 56-28, NM State ended the third on a 9-3 run and led 65-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Grand Canyon showed some life to start the fourth, scoring the quarters first five points to trim its deficit to 28 at 65-37. From there, the Aggies were able to cruise to an 81-52 victory, its 20th-straight WAC home win and eighth-straight win over all.
Salas led the way with her 14th double-double of the season with 25 points and 18 rebounds to go along with seven assists. Pack scored an efficient 19 points on 9-17 shooting from the field while recording five rebounds.
The Aggies shot 40.5 percent from the field (30-74) while turning it over just seven times on the afternoon. The New Mexico State defense held GCU to 33.3 percent (18-54) from the field and NM State scored 27 points on 21 Lope turnovers.
New Mexico State is back in action when it hits the road for a WAC road trip against Utah Valley on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 11 a.m. (MT) and Seattle U on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m. Both games are set to be streamed live on the WAC Digital Network.