LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team had its senior day spoiled by UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, as the Aggies fell to the Vaqueros 66-55 at the Pan Am Center.
The Aggies (24-4, 13-1 WAC) saw their bid for another undefeated season cut short, this time in the regular-season finale at home at the hands of UTRGV (17-12, 9-5).
The loss also put a halt to NMSU’s winning-streak at 15, tying the 1987-88 team for the longest streak in program history.
The game started just like it did last week, shooting wise, as NMSU shot 5-of-17 from the floor to UTRGV’s 8-of-18 shooting from the field. Of those eight, however, five came from 3-point land.
The second quarter was a little more evened out thanks to a 6-0 run early on in the quarter and a 6-2 run at the end to bring New Mexico State within 36-25 of UTRGV. The Aggies trailed by as much as 15 points in the second frame before going into the locker room down 36-25.
Despite a 9-0 run to start the second-half to give the Vaqueros their largest lead of the game, 45-25, NMSU’s resilience slowly clawed at the lead.
Senior Sasha Weber knocked in a three at the 7:02 mark to start NMSU’s 11-0 run that spanned for 3:38 minutes, and was capped off by a layup from Shanice Davis on steal from Moriah Mack.
Down 50-42 at the start fourth quarter, Davis led the NMSU charge with 7:11 left to play when she crossed over her opponent for the easy bucket.
Six points later, the Aggies saw themselves within 55-53 of UTRGV after Davis was fouled on her drive to the hole. Coming out of the timeout called by UTRGV, Davis drew back iron before the Vaqueros scored on the other end two possessions later.
Mack found a wide open Freeman on her drive to the low block and cut the UTRGV lead to 57-55 once again with 3:49 left to play. Unfortunately, that was as close as NM State got the rest of the game. The Vaqueros closed out the rest of the game on a 9-0 run for the 66-55 win, spoiling NM State’s senior day celebration.
Davis led the Aggies with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Mack and Weber both added a dozen points of their own, while Mack pulled down eight boards to go with her three dimes and two steals.
NMSU was presented the Western Athletic Conference regular-season trophy by the WAC Deputy Commissioner and SWA, Connie Hurlbut, and also honored its three seniors: Abby Scott, Shanice Davis and Sasha Weber.
The Aggies now turn their focus to the WAC Tournament where they’ll face the quarterfinal winner between No. 4-seed Utah Valley and No. 5-seed UMKC in the semifinals on Friday, March 11, at 1 p.m. (MT).
POSTGAME NOTES: This is the second straight season the Aggies have lost its bid to go undefeated in the second-half of conference play…The last time NMSU trailed by as much as 20, they lost to Vanderbilt (Dec. 29), a 71-45 decision at the Fordham Holiday Classic…The Aggies were 5-0 against UTRGV at home until Saturday’s loss… NMSU’s four-game winning-streak when trailing opponents heading into the fourth quarter was snapped in the loss…The Aggies’ eight-game winning-streak at home was snapped in the loss… NMSU is now 29-13 all-time on senior day and 2-3 in the Trakh era… All 66 points for UTRGV came from the starters, the Vaquero bench had zero points.