Although the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team held a one-point advantage in the second half, it wouldn’t be enough to overcome a halftime deficit of 30 points as New Mexico State University claimed the 89-60 exhibition win Sunday afternoon.
The game counted as an exhibition for the Lady Mustangs, while it was a regular season contest for the Aggies.
NMSU jumped out early and often as they outscored WNMU 26-13 in the first quarter and then used a 29-12 scoring burst in the second quarter to open up a 55-25 halftime lead. The Lady Mustangs stayed with it and after putting up their best quarter of the night in the third with 19 points, they would outscore the Aggies 16-10 in the fourth to hold a 35-34 edge over the final 20 minutes of the contest.
Senior Jade Botelho had her best game of the season putting up 21 points, making 8-18 from the field, along with seven rebounds and three assists. Junior Ciara Fields also reached double-digits with 11 points and pulled down six rebounds. Junior Takiyah Lopez and freshmen Rachel Francisco and Jenika Padilla added seven points apiece. Lopez had a team-best four assists.
NMSU quickly moved out to a 7-0 lead just over a minute in. Botelho got the Lady Mustangs on the board at the 8:20 mark when she connected on a jumper in the paint. After falling behind by as many as 16 points a couple of times, WNMU rallied late in the quarter to pull to within 11 when Fields hit a layup before NMSU drilled a jumper with 10 seconds to play for the 26-13 lead after the first quarter.
It was all Aggies in the second quarter, as they moved the lead into the 20’s and then carried a 55-25 lead into halftime.
After NMSU pushed the lead to their largest of the night at 40, the Lady Mustangs ended the third frame on a 5-0 run in just 30 seconds with Padilla and Lopez hitting foul shots, before Botelho cashed in a turnover with a layup at the buzzer.
WNMU continued the run into the fourth quarter with senior Melody McLaughlin hitting a pair of foul shots just over a minute in. Following a basket by NMSU with 4:15 to play, WNMU kept them off the board the remainder of the game and finished on a 5-0 run to provide the final score. Fields hit a three and then Lopez and McLaughlin hit a free throw each during the spurt.
Eight players had at least six points for NMSU with Aaliyah Prince leading the way with 16 points. Brooke Salas had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. NMSU made 35-68 (52) from the field, 7-19 (37) from three and 12-17 (71) at the foul line. WNMU made 20-56 (36) from the field, 4-14 (29) from three and 16-22 (73) at the foul line.
WNMU will have a quick turnaround as they will return to Lone Star Conference play this coming Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Portales when they will face in-state rival Eastern New Mexico.