Women’s basketball: NMSU stays undefeated in WAC play, defeats UVU

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Photo by Mykah Heaton

Behind a strong first quarter start and finishing with a 15-point advantage from behind the arc, New Mexico State defeated UVU Thursday in Lockhart Arena by the score of 66-53. The Aggies were well-balanced offensively, with Zaire Williams leading all scorers with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Taylor Gordon led the Wolverines with 14 points.

“We don’t have much room for error,” head coach Cathy Nixon said. “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. New Mexico State is not undefeated in the WAC because they don’t play hard. I thought we had moments where we were really good, but we weren’t united enough for 40 minutes to beat a team like that.”

With Sam Lubcke out due to a concussion for UVU, Sariah Wi Neera was forced to fill the space in the front court after Leya Harvey went down with an ankle injury early in the first quarter. The freshman from Australia finished with a double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for the Wolverines.

“I thought she did pretty well, ten rebounds are what we need from her, that’s her job.” Nixon said.

After going down 22-6 in the second quarter, UVU went on a 15-2 run to close the gap to 24-21 which included 3-pointers from Britta Hall and Keana Delos Santos. However, NMSU would end the quarter on an 8-2 run with Moriah Mack hitting a jumper at the buzzer. This would be the closest that UVU would get the rest of the game.

This week’s know thy enemy highlighted NMSU leading scorer Brooke Salas, who led the Aggies with 24 points in the first matchup this year. Salas struggled to gain a scoring rhythm in the first half, being held to four points. This time she had help from her supporting cast in Williams, Mack, and Brianna Freeman, all finishing in double figures for the Aggies.

The loss drops UVU’s conference record to 3-9, and 8-19 overall. UVU will play in its last home game this Saturday against UT Rio Grande Valley. Although it will be senior night, the team will not be saying goodbye to any senior players this year. Nixon said it’s the best senior night ever, looking forward to coaching the entire team next year again.