Aggies Face Lobos Tuesday; Host UMKC Friday

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 5:59pm

This Week: NM State gets back to the hardwood after a nearly two week break. On Tuesday, the Aggies welcome Rio Grande Rival New Mexico to the Pan American Center. The Lobos darted past NM State in game one of the rivalry series 60-37 (Nov. 20) in Albuquerque. The Aggies are 5-3 on the season with the Lobos coming to Las Cruces 7-3. Next, NM State plays host to UMKC on Friday, Dec. 21. The Kangaroos are 4-7 on the season and are currently on a three-game losing streak. Kansas City will meet Texas Southern on Wednesday, before making the trip to face the Aggies. The Aggies are 1-2 all-time against the 'Roos after falling 68-57 at UMKC last January.

Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is producing 15 games on KSNM AM 570 this season, along with any contests in the post season with Jay Sanderson giving the play-by-play.

All games aired on radio are produced by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces. The broadcasts can also be heard from anywhere around the world on the Internet by logging onto www.NMStateSports.com. Just click on the live events link to access the coverage for a fee.

Television Coverage: Eight games are scheduled to air on television this season on AggieVision. The first game broadcast is the Aggies home game versus I-10 Rival UTEP on Nov. 28 from the Pan American Center. Fans can also go to www.AggieVision.tv for channel listings.

Live Stats on the Web: Live stats will be available for fans at www.NMStateSports.com at no cost for the entire season. Fans can click on the Live Events link at the top of the NMStateSports.com home page to access the live stats. Live stats for away games may direct fans to the opposing team's athletics page.

Twitter/Facebook: Get all the updates of Aggie Athletics on Twitter and Facebook. Get in-game statistics and in-game updates on Twitter @NMStateAggies. Find out about all Aggie Athletics promotions and events on Facebook (NMSU Athletics and The Aggie Student-Athlete).

THE LOOKS
Looking Ahead: NM State sets its focus on the second of a two-game series against I-10 rival UTEP on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in El Paso, Texas. The Aggies have met the Miners 81 times in program history, including last Wednesday's win in Las Cruces. After that, NM State will take a brief hiatus until it welcomes Rio Grande rival New Mexico to the Pan American Center on Dec. 18.

Looking Back: The Aggies went 2-0 on the weekend with a big win over undefeated I-10 rival UTEP 69-68 on Wednesday, and a late comeback win, 70-68, at Southern Utah. Stefanie Gilbreath earned a career-high 22 points against the Miners and Danesia Williamson led the Aggies with 23 points, 10 of those from the line. NM State then came up with a last minute win over the Thunderbirds, helping head coach Mark Trakh to his 300th career win as a Division I head coach. Williamson and Gilbreath led the team in points once again, with a layup by Williamson sealing the victory for NM State with two seconds on the clock.

AGGIE COUNTRY
About the Aggies: NM State returns six from the 2011-12 team, including Kelsie Rozendaal, who finished the season with a .526 shooting percentage. Rozendaal was third on the team with 108 total rebounds and second with a .778 free throw percentage on the year. Senior Jasmine Rutledge also returns for the Aggies after averaging 5.7 points per game with 4.1 rebounds.

Rutledge saw action in each of the Aggies 30 games last season and started in half of those.

Chrissy Fletcher and Camila Rosen also return to the hardwood as two of the Aggies starters. Fletcher went 4-for-4 at the free throw line against UTEP (11/16) while earning her second straight academic All-WAC honor. Rosen picked up 32 steals as a junior and earned a season-high 13 points against Boise State (1/7).

Gilbreath joins the Aggie squad as a transfer from USC. The former Trojan played in each of USC's 30 games last season, starting 17 contests and averaging 3.9 points per game. She led the team in free throw percentage at 83 percent (24-of-29) and averaged 2.6 rebounds per game. Gilbreath sat out three seasons with the Trojans due to knee injuries.
Seasons Leadings

Danesia Williamson has proved to be essential on the court for the Aggies this season after starting seven of the Aggies eight games so far. She boasts an average of 14.0 points per game with her season high coming against I-10 rival UTEP (11/28) when she scored 23, helping NM State to a 69-68 win over the Miners. She has posted six games with over 15 points and has not left a game this season with less than nine.

Kelsie Rozendaal leads the Aggies this season with 47 total rebounds. She has collected 29 of those on the defensive side of the ball while still managing to average 10.3 points per game. The senior averages 6.7 rebounds a game and leads the team with a 53.2 field goal percentage (25-47) in her seven games this season. Rozendaal had her best game this season on opening night when she posted her first double-double of the year with 22 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Aggies to a 77-76 overtime win.

Trakh-ing Down No. 300: Head coach Mark Trakh picked up his 300th career win as a Division I head coach on Saturday, Dec. 1, against Southern Utah. The Aggies pulled off a last minute 70-68 defeat over the Thunderbirds, helping Trakh to earn the milestone victory. Currently, Trakh sits with a 300-214 career record.

Stef's Standout Week: The senior transfer averaged 18.5 points on 35.3 percentage shooting, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game as the Aggies went 2-0 on the week against UTEP and SUU. Gilbreath opened the week with a career-high 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and shooting 5-for-8 behind the three point line in the 69-68 win over I-10 rival UTEP. She tallied a career-high five three's (62.5 percent) against UTEP and matched her career numbers for rebounds (8) and assists (3). She then came back in the win over Southern Utah to post 15 points with a 35.7 shooting percentage. She was perfect at the line, going 6-for-6 on the week with three each game.

*Tough Luck in ABQ: The Lobos took advantage of the points off turnovers in the win over NM State with 19. The Aggies finished the night with similar numbers to New Mexico, but the team just could not find the basket.

The first half opened up with the Lobos taking a 4-0 lead, but sophomore Danesia Williamson downed her first two of 10 baskets of the night. With the Aggies keeping with just those for points until near the nine minute mark, freshman Sasha Weber brought the Aggies back in the game and NM State left the hardwood with 27-20 at the half.

NM State earned the first points of the second half, but struggled to find the basket. A pair of good free throws by senior Kelsie Rozendaal early in the period along with a bucket by Elena Holguin helped move the score for NM State. The Aggies collected a few more points with a layup by sophomore Simone Ruedin and a free basket by Williamson in the middle of the period.

Kelsie Rozendaal combined for seven points and six rebounds on the night, but was 2-for-5 on field goals. Williams and Stefanie Gilbreath each had 10 buckets on the night, going 4-for-16 and 4-for-15, respectively.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Scouting New Mexico: The Lobos head to Las Cruces with a 7-3 overall record after a 58-53 loss to Arizona on Dec. 8. UNM started the season on a five-game win streak that included the 60-37 win over the Aggies at The Pit on Nov. 20.

In that game, The Lobos "Top Three", Jourdan Erskine, Sara Halasz and Durbin combined for 34 of the Lobos 60 points. As a team, the Lobos shot 46.2 percent from the field in comparison to the Aggies 21.9 percent. The teams were nearly even on turnovers, however, with the Aggies allowing 18 to the Lobos 17.

Leading the Lobos after their first 10 games is Caroline Durbin. Durbin averages 12.1 points a game and has a 45.9 field goal percentage from behind the three-point arc. She averages 5.1 rebounds a game and has a 40.4 shooting percentage.

Series History Versus Lobos: Tuesday's meeting will be the 68 all-time for the Rio Grande Rivalry. NM State is 22-45 overall against the Lobos with an 11-21 record in Las Cruces. The Aggies last win over the Lobos in the Pan Am was back in December of 2007. The Aggies took a 58-42 win over UNM on that game. Last season in Las Cruces, the Aggies fell by just a one-point margin (59-58) to New Mexico.

About UMKC: The 'Roos sit 4-7 overall on the season, but face Texas Southern before making the trip to Las Cruces. Currently on a three-game losing streak, Kansas City has two players averaging over 15 points a game. Kim Nezianya and Eilise O'Connor have each worked to average 15.1 points a game while Nezianya also leads the team with 6.7 rebounds a game. The senior forward is shooting 47.3 percent from the field while collecting 11 steals on the season. O'Connor is not far behind with a team high of 15 steals and 47 assists.

The 'Roos have lost two games this season by more than a 30-point margin. UMKC lost to Drexel 40-76 in late November and fell at Minnesota 49-87. Most recently, the Kangaroos slipped against Eastern Michigan 69-74.

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