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The NM State women's basketball team faltered early on, resulting in its second loss in Western Athletic Conference play to conference leader Seattle, 60-54, on Thursday evening in the Pan American Center. The Aggies now sit at 9-6 overall with a 3-2 conference record.
Despite the loss, the Aggies had two in double figures on Thursday night with sophomore Danesia Williamson leading the team with 22 points and senior Stefanie Gilbreath with 17. Williamson was just one point shy of matching her career high of 23, while Gilbreath marks her fourth straight game with 15 or more points.
Junior Jasmine Rutledge earned a career-high 10 rebounds on the night and senior Kelsie Rozendaal tallied eight. Fellow senior Malia Magazzeeni picked up a season high with six. Picking up 39 rebounds as a team, the Aggies were outnumbered by Seattle's 44 boards on the night. The Aggies finished the game shooting 33 percent from the field, but shot even with the Redhawks from three-point range at 22.2 percent.
"We'll be just fine," head coach Mark Trakh said. "We did not play well tonight, but we still did some things right. It was not our best game and we only lost by six. I think we are still on the right track and if we can pick up the win over Idaho on Saturday, we'll be doing well."
NM State was sluggish to start, giving Seattle a 14-4 advantage in the first eight minutes of the game. It was Williamson that went on a 5-0 run to bring the Aggies within seven points at 18-11 in the middle of the period.
A big three point shot by Elena Holguin brought the Aggies to 16 points before Gilbreath collected a free point from the line, putting NM State within 10 of the Redhawks. The Aggies picked up some last minute fire with two buckets from inside the paint by Williamson followed by a basket from behind the three-point line by Gilbreath in the final two minutes of the half, cutting the Aggie deficit to 34-27 at intermission.
Williamson led at the half with 11 points, but the team shot just 29 percent from the floor and went 2-10 from behind the three-point mark.
Going on an 8-2 run over the Aggies to start the second half, Seattle increased its lead to 42-29 before Gilbreath was able to get inside for a pair of layups. Continuing with their momentum from the end of the first half, the Aggies narrowed the gap to just five points off a layup by freshman Sasha Weber and Rozendaal.
Two three pointers by the Redhawks extended their lead once again, but the Aggies answered back with an 11-2 advantage to put them within four points with less than a minute to play. Forced to send Seattle to the line, NM State allowed the margin to increase to six. Williamson came up with a layup with 12 seconds to go, but the final pair of free shots by the Redhawks capped the game at 60-44.
NM State continues at home against Idaho on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. The game is set to air on AggieVision and ESPN3.com.
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