The New Mexico State women’s basketball team picked up a staggering 90-70 win over the San Jose State Spartans on Thursday night for the Aggies’ first win in nine games. NM State moves to 10-14 on the season and 4-10 in Western Athletic Conference play after splitting the series with the Spartans.
NM State had six players in double figures with senior Kelsie Rozendaal earning a double-double on the game. With the Aggies shooting 46.6 percent from the floor, Rozendaal worked her way to 11 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. Sophomore Danesia Williamson picked up a team-leading 19 points and matched her career-best with six rebounds on the night while managing a career best with 10 assists. Williamson now has three consecutive WAC games with double-digit points.
Joining the Aggie pair in the double figures was freshmen Sasha Weber and Abby Scott with 16 and 17 points, respectively. Senior Camila Rosen earned her season-high 10 points and Stefanie Gilbreath had her 15th consecutive game in the double figures as she helped the Aggies with 13 points.
“This is the team that I knew we could be from the start of the season,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “I was pleased with the team’s performance as a whole and I was glad to see so many of our girls contributing on the floor. Danesia (Williamson) and Abby (Scott) played great tonight and it just shows that we have some true talent blossoming with our new kids.”
San Jose hit up the board first with a pair of free throws, but it look little time before the Aggies found a pattern and took the lead in full force. The teams traded buckets evenly as the score locked at 11 apiece until the 12:42 mark when NM State moved ahead 14-13 off a three from Williamson.
NM State went on a 12-2 lead over the Spartans to give a 28-17 cushion to the Aggies going into the under eight-minute timeout of the opening half. The Spartans came back for six unanswered points before the teams began to evenly trade shots. The Aggies picked up a 10-point lead with just over three minutes left off a bucket from behind the three-point line by Williamson.
The Aggies continued on the war path by extending the lead to 16 points in the final two minutes as Williamson proved to be a force in the final minutes with 11 of the Aggies final 13 points of the half. NM State led the Spartans at intermission 47-30.
The sophomore finished with 14 points in the half and seven assists. The Aggies shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the opening period and went 8-15 from the three point line, good for 53.3 percent. The Aggies first half shooting percentage is a team best for the Aggies since facing the UTSA Roadrunners on the road in early January.
The second half was just as strong for NM State as five Aggies joined Williamson in the double-digits. While the Aggies outscored SJSU just 43-40 in the second half, it started early with a three by Weber and a layup in the paint by Rozendaal. The Aggies hit seven three pointers in the second half with four in the first five minutes back on the court.
With the Aggies up 79-58 with 7:02 to play, Rozendaal worked her way to that fifth double-double with a bucket from inside the point. Williamson and Gilbreath followed that up with a three pointer to put the Aggies ahead by 27. Williamson came back after a made free throw by the Spartans for a jumper just inside the three-point line to put the Aggies at a 90-62 lead with just over four minutes to play.
The Aggies quieted down offensively without a bucket in the final four minutes on the hardwood, but allowed SJSU to sink just eight points in that time. NM State finished the night with 37 rebounds and held the WAC-leading scorer Ta’Rea Cunningan, who averages 20 points per game, to 12 points on the night.
Twenty-two of the Aggies points came from inside the paint and 31 were off Spartan turnovers. The Aggie defense forced 21 turnovers and the offense worked for a season-high 24 assists.
After the 90-70 win to break the nine-game losing streak in conference play, Trakh and his Aggies welcome the Utah State Aggies on Saturday, Feb. 16, to the Pan American Center at 6:30 p.m.