Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

New Mexico State women win third straight, beat Sam Houston at home

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State women’s basketball team improved to 4-1 in the Western Athletic Conference with a 69-48 victory over Sam Houston on Thursday at the Pan American Center.

The Aggies (9-8) won their third straight game and their sixth win in their last seven games.

“I’m just so blessed to be a part of it and watch this team grow, just buy into the culture and what we are about,” Aggie’s coach Jody Adams said. “To buy in so quickly and stay focused on what they very very well and empower each other, I feel like I’m the blessed one.”

NM State had six conference wins last year and the Aggies were 2-3 after five games in the WAC last year with many of the same players, but the Aggies find themselves in the top half of the conference with another home game on Saturday against Utah Tech at 4pm

“I’m just proud of them,” Adams said. “They didn’t have to stay here. They wanted to. We brought in six other players and just to watch them blend together and believe how special they could be.”

NMSU guard Soufia Inoussa takes the ball to the basket during a women's college basketball on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at the Pan American Center.

The Aggies took control of the game with a 15-0 run in the second quarter where Sam Houston (2-2 WAC) went scoreless for seven minutes.

“Our defense gets our offense going and once we get stops, we like to play in transition,” Aggies senior Tayelin Grays said.

Grays hit from inside to make it 22-14 and Sylene Peterson found Lucia Yenes in transition for a 28-14 lead. Shania Harper made it 30-14 with a putback as the Aggies shot 55 percent in the first half with 26 points in the paint.

Ashlee Strawbridge scored 13 points for the Aggies, who finished 57 percent from the field with 50 points in the paint.

Harper scored 11 points with eight rebounds and Peterson scored 11 points with six assists.

“We work hard every day and the practices are hard so we have fun at the game,” Grays said. “Back when I was a part of a (WAC championship team in 2018-19) that is what we did. We had fun. We are just trusting in our teammates and it’s all coming together.”

New Mexico State men drop to 0-5 in WAC play

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team is suffering the longest losing streak since the 2010-11 season when the Aggies lost seven straight early in the season.

The Aggies dropped to 0-5 in WAC play with a 69-66 loss at Seattle, where the Aggies closed a 14-point second half Seattle lead to one and a shot to tie the game with a Marchelus Avery that didn’t fall.

NM State is 0-5 in conference play for the first time since the 1954-55 season under Presley Askew when the Aggies started 0-9 in the Border Conference and it’s the first five-game conference losing streak since 2004-05 when the Aggies Lost 10 straight in the Sun Belt.

“I see improvements and that is what this is all about,” Aggie’s head coach Greg Heiar said in his postgame radio comments. “We want to win every game we play, but we showed a lot of fight down the stretch. We are getting closer. We have to keep working. At some point, this is going to turn around.”

The game was tied 24-24 at halftime with the Aggies leading for the majority of the first half.

Seattle shot 60 percent in the second half and led by as many as 14 points.

The Aggies scored eight straight points to close to within 58-52 with five minutes left on a Quaye Gordon triple as NM State was 40 percent from the field, 9 for 23 (39 percent) from 3-point range and 11 for 19 at the free throw line.

Xavier Pinson hit a pair of free throws to make it 58-54, but Seattle pushed the lead back to 64-56 on a Cameron Tyson 3-pointer with 2:30 to play. Tyson didn’t score in the first half, but finished with 14 points.

Another Gordon 3 made it 67-61 with 1:13 left to play and Avery hit a triple with 37 seconds left to make it a three point lead at 67-64. The Aggies forced a Seattle turnover and Gordon scored off the steal to make it 65-64 with 15 seconds left.

But Seattle’s Alex Schumacher hit a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left and Avery’s triple didn’t fall.

Gordon finished with 11 points, Pinson scored 10 points and Issa Muhammad scored 11 points with seven rebounds, but the Aggies were outrebounded 35-29.

The Aggies host UT Arlington on Saturday at 7 pm, in a game between two teams who are winless in conference play.

Jason Groves can be reached at 575-541-5459 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jpgroves.

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