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The New Mexico State women's basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 75-50 win over Missouri-Kansas City on Friday evening in the Pan American Center. The Aggies move to 6-4 on the season before opening Western Athletic Conference play on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Sophomore Danesia Williamson tallied 21 points on the night with a steal and two rebounds. She marked a season high seven assists. As a team, NM State shot 41.5 percent from the field and picked up 29 points off UMKC turnovers. The Aggies also shot 46.7 percent (14-30) behind the three-point line with four of those coming from Williamson.
"Defense was really big for us tonight," head coach Mark Trakh said. "The team bought into the scouting report and we were making shots. It's amazing how much of a difference that makes for us."
Forcing 18 turnovers, the Aggies picked up 37 rebounds on the game, including seven from Jasmine Rutledge and six from Kelsie Rozendaal.
NM State got off on the right foot with the opening bucket by senior Stefanie Gilbreath followed by a three by freshman guard Sasha Weber. The Aggies maintained their momentum early in the first half by claiming 13 unanswered points before the 10-minute mark.
The Aggies let the Kangaroos come back with five points that included their first three of the game before Williamson responded with a layup. A couple more Aggie baskets put NM State ahead 33-11 before the 'Roos went on a 10 point run to close the half 33-21 with the Aggies ahead.
In the first half alone, Gilbreath tallied 14 points with three boards and 3-for-6 behind the three point line. NM State closed the half shooting 40.7 percent from the field and held the lead throughout the entire period. The Aggies were up by as much as 22 in the first half with 3:52 on the clock.
The second half started off with a slower pace, but it wasn't long before a deep three by Weber and a couple of layups by Williamson and senior Camila Rosen got the Aggies back on track. A pair of three's from Williamson and freshman Elena Holguin vaulted the Aggies to 48-29 with 11:04 left in the second half.
After the 10-minute mark, it was free throws that proved helpful for NM State. Williamson and Rutledge combined for seven points from the line. Williamson moved the Aggies ahead by 24 with back-to-back three pointers.
The half wrapped up with four freshmen on the court. Abby Scott and Alexis Nelson each picked up a three with less than two minutes to play. The lead didn't stop there as NM State moved ahead by 26 points with 1:01 to play. That margin marked the largest lead the Aggies have had all season over an opponent.
The win over the 'Roos marks the sixth win for NM State this season, tying the win total of the 2011-12 season.
"I'm really pleased with the win. It sets us of for conference play next week and gives the girls some confidence to build on over the break," Trakh said.
The Aggies open WAC play against UT Arlington on Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Pan American Center before hosting Louisiana Tech on New Years Eve. Both games are slated for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off.
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