The New Mexico State women's basketball team fell in its second heartbreaker of the weekend on a 51-50 loss to San Jose State on Saturday afternoon at The Event Center. The Aggies led by as much as six in the first half, but were unable to maintain the lead late in the second half. NM State moves to 9-9 on the season and 3-5 in Western Athletic Conference play.
Stefanie Gilbreath earned her second career game of the week with 15 rebounds. The senior picked up 13 points as well, good for her third double-double of the season. Fellow senior Kelsie Rozendaal and freshman Sasha Weber each tallied 10 points on the day, while Rozendaal earned her third double-double of the year with 10 points.
Freshman Shay Young broke out for the first time this season with six points, tying her career number, and three rebounds against the Spartans. Junior Jasmine Rutledge worked for a career 11 rebounds as well.
As a team, the Aggies shot just 26.5 percent from the floor, but collected a season-high 62 team rebounds. They allowed the Spartans to shoot 29.2 percent from the field and held SJSU to 43 boards on the day.
"We are in all of these games," head coach Mark Trakh said. "We are losing by one or two points, so we are right there. You just have to stay positive and keep the girls heads up. That's all we can do."
Gilbreath struck first for the Aggies with a three from the top of the arc after both teams went scoreless for more than the first three minutes of play. SJSU went on a short run before Young and Rutledge each hit a jumper to regain the lead. As Weber and Gilbreath moved the Aggies to 11 points in the middle of the half, the Spartans came back to cut that lead and tie the score off a free throw.
Young picked up another jumper to give the lead back to NM State with just under eight minutes to play. Rozendaal but the Aggies in motion with four straight points before the teams traded missed shots for nearly two and a half minutes.
Gilbreath lit up the board with back-to-back three pointers for NM State but the Spartans finished the half with a five point run to end the half with the Aggies up 22-21.
At the half, NM State shot just 24.4 percent from the floor, but held SJSU to 22.2 percent with the Aggies 32 rebounds.
The second half started much quicker for the Aggies with a 7-2 run to open the period. SJSU picked up seven of their own before Rozendaal and Weber each hit a jumper to keep the Aggie lead 35-32 with 15:49 to play. NM State managed to keep a small lead in the second half until the 8:27 mark when the Spartans locked the score at 41 apiece.
San Jose State took the lead of the game at 47-41 with a 10-0 run over the Aggies until Weber made both of her free shots to cut SJSU's run. Two free shots by Young and a bucket from Williamson cut the Spartan lead to four points. A free shot by Weber and a layup by Williamson closed the gap to 51-50 with 13.5 seconds to play.
"We have a week to prepare now before we play Denver. We'll get the team back in the gym and get shots up and try and turn this around," Trakh said.
NM State was unable to turn the game in its favor in the fin seconds, falling 51-50 in the final seconds to play.
NM State now has a week to prepare as the team continues on the road at Denver on Saturday, Jan. 26.