NMSU will face UNM without guards Corbett and Rosen
When the New Mexico State women’s basketball team faces New Mexico at the Pit tonight, it will be aided by the confidence of knowing that Madison Spence will be in the lineup.
But just like in the 58-49 loss to their in-state rival in Las Cruces on Dec. 1 without her, the Aggies (6-6) won’t be at full strength.
Spence, NMSU’s third-leading scorer (13.3 points per game), primary distributor (2.9 assists per game) and most accurate outside threat (42.4 percent on 3-pointers) is back and playing her third game since suffering a concussion against Western New Mexico on Nov. 22. In a 72-62 loss to Utah last week, Spence scored 17 points and began to resemble her pre-injury self.
“Against Utah, she was a lot closer to how she was before she got hurt. She was playing really well in our first few games,” said her father, NMSU coach Darin Spence.
It’s not all good news from the training room: Senior guard Danisha Corbett and sophomore guard Camila Rosen both suffered knee injuries against the Utes.
Darin Spence said that Corbett, who matched a career high with 22 points in the first meeting against the Lobos (5-6), should miss a few weeks.
“I think it’s just a sprain to her MCL. We’ll just have to wait and see how she progresses,” he said.
Rosen, who was a member of the All-WAC freshman team last year, has a more serious ailment.
“We think she’s done for the year with an ACL,” Spence said.
NMSU has lost four of its last five games, but Spence has been pleased with his team’s effort against difficult competition. The Aggies’ last three losses have been to Michigan, Arizona and Utah.
“We had four-point games down the stretch in all those games. Not being at full strength hurt us. It gave us a glimpse of what we can be when we do things right and we all play together,” Spence said.
“Those stand out more than just winning. Some of those losses were more important to us as far as our learning curve goes.”
With just two games remaining before conference play begins, Spence would like his squad to improve its defensive rebounding and limit careless turnovers. Getting 6-foot-1 forward Tabytha Wampler in the flow early and often is also key.
“(We need) to do a better job of getting her going earlier in games,” he said.
Even with the holes in the rotation created by the absence of Corbett and Rosen, the return of the coach’s daughter has filled a significant void.
“She obviously makes us a better team. Even in that first game with New Mexico, we were nip and tuck with them for a while. She makes a huge difference in that game (had she played),” Spence said.