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LAS CRUCES, N.M — The New Mexico State women’s basketball team struggled from 3-point range, but saw junior Danesia Williamson score 28 points in the 66-56 loss to Grand Canyon on Thursday, March 6. The final game of the regular season brings the Aggies to 10-19 overall and 7-9 in Western Athletic Conference play heading into the WAC Tournament,
Williamson was 10-of-28 from the floor to lead NM State and all scorers in the game. She also tallied two assists, three steals and a block with seven rebounds. Freshman Brianna Freeman also helped out with 10 points and nine boards while finishing 5-of-9 on the night.
The Aggies shot 32 percent as a team and allowed the Antelopes to shoot 41 percent. NM State was narrowly out-rebounded by GCU 44-43, but held the Lopes with just two players scoring in double figures. The Aggies won the points off turnovers 14-8, while the teams evenly matched with 32 points in the paint.
GCU went up 8-2 on the Aggies early in the game before sophomore Sasha Weber and Freeman hit layups, keeping the Aggies in motion. The Lopes scored six in-a-row to take a 10-point lead over NM State (16-6) with just over 13 minutes on the clock.
NM State made it a four-point game before letting the Lopes go on a 17-6 run in the first half. NM State struggled from beyond the arc with the first three of the game coming at the 1:43 mark off the hands of junior Elena Holguin.
The half ended with a pair of free shots by the Lopes and a layup from Williamson, who finished the opening half with 10 of the Aggies 23 points.
GCU led NM State 35-23 at the intermission with just five Aggies helping out with scoring. The team shot 31 percent from the floor, while the Lopes shot 42 percent as a team. Williamson was the only Aggie to score in double figures and Freeman led the team with five rebounds at half.
New energy came over NM State in the second half as they kept things within 10 points of GCU for the majority of the half. The teams pushed the ball across the court for the first few minutes, trading baskets until a layup by sophomore Abby Scott put the Aggies within 10 of the Lopes, making it the closest scoring margin of the half near the 11-minute mark.
Both teams hit a short dry spell, with just Weber and Williamson scoring for NM State in the next two minutes. Sitting with a 48-38 deficit after Weber’s layup, Williamson matched it with a wide-open shot followed by a free throw to put the Aggies back within seven of the Lopes.
GCU scored the next four points before the media timeout was called, but Williamson drove in for a layup on the other side of the break. The Lopes went on a 12-6 run in the next few minutes and that was broken up as Williamson drew a foul and sank both her shots to make it a 60-49 game.
The final minute saw Freeman hit a layup with a pass from Weber and the Lopes hit two from the line. Still struggling from 3-point range, Williamson finally sank her first long ball of the game with 47 seconds on the clock to get the Aggies within eight of GCU.
GCU saw four more points sink from the line and NM State dropped two before time ran out on the final game of the season.
The Aggies now head into the 2014 edition of the WAC Tournament, March 12-15 in Las Vegas, Nev. Hosted at the Orleans Arena, NM State awaits its fate with the final seeding of the tournament to be finalized after conference play concludes on Saturday.
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