The New Mexico State women's basketball team makes its season debut in the Pan American Center on Friday, Nov. 2, against Fort Lewis. The game is free to the public and tipoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Admission to the game is free for all fans. Gates open one hour prior to tip off at 5:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the best selection of available seats.
As the unofficial tipoff to the season, the Aggies face the Skyhawks for the first time since the 1998 season when the Aggies delivered a 93-52 win over Fort Lewis to snap a nine-game losing streak. NM State opens regular season play on Nov. 12 against Loyola Marymount.
Fort Lewis comes into the exhibition game after a 26-5 record during the 2011-12 campaign. The Skyhawks are part of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference where they claimed their second straight RMAC title in 2012.
Just weeks ago, the Aggies were picked to finish eighth in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) media poll and ninth in the coaches' poll. Senior Guard Stefanie Gilbreath was named an All-WAC preseason pick.
Gilbreath joins the Aggie squad as a transfer from USC. The former Trojan played in each of USC's 30 games last season, starting 17 contests and averaging 3.9 points per game. She led the team in free throw percentage at 83 percent (24-of-29) and averaged 2.6 rebounds per game. Gilbreath sat out three seasons with the Trojans due to knee injuries.
The Aggies finished the 2011-12 season 6-24 overall, 3-11 in conference play under first-year head coach Mark Trakh. NM State returns six from the 11-12 team, including Kelsie Rozendaal, who finished the season with a .526 shooting percentage. Rozendaal was third on the team with 108 total rebounds and second with a .778 free throw percentage on the year. Senior Jasmine Rutledge also returns for the Aggies after averaging 5.7 points per game with 4.1 rebounds. Rutledge saw action in each of the Aggies 30 games last season and started in half of those.
Chrissy Fletcher and Camila Rosen also return to the hardwood as two of the Aggies starters. Fletcher went 4-for-4 at the free throw line against UTEP (11/16) while earning her second straight academic All-WAC honor. Rosen picked up 32 steals as a junior and earned a season-high 13 points against Boise State (1/7).
Along with Gilbreath, Trakh added six other newcomers to the roster. Las Cruces native, Elena Holguin, comes in after redshirting her freshman season. Three-point threat, Alexis Nelson, also joins the Aggies after breaking the single-season record for three pointers with 60 during her senior campaign at Aurora High School in Aurora, Ill.
NM State also brings in University of San Diego transfer, Denesia Williamson. The sophomore started one game and participated in 16 while averaging 12 minutes per game last season. The 5-6 guard averaged 5.1 points, 1.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game with the Toreros. Abby Scott (Madras, Ore.), Sasha Weber (Lacey, Wash.) and Shay Young (San Diego, Calif.) round out the newcomers for NM State.
The Aggies open the 2012-13 season at home on Nov. 12, against Loyola Marymount, at the Pan American Center.