Dec. 31, 2012
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Stefanie Gilbreath scored a game-high 18 points to lead four players in double figures as New Mexico State defeated Louisiana Tech 71-67 before 757 fans at the Pan American Center Monday night in Western Athletic Conference action.
With the loss, Tech dropped to 5-7 overall, 1-1 in WAC play, while New Mexico State improved to 7-5, 1-1 in league action.
Gilbreath, a transfer from Southern Cal, scored 12 points in the opening 10 minutes of play to lead New Mexico State (7-5, 1-1 WAC) to a 25-12 lead after the Aggies scored the first nine points of the game. The Aggies entered the game ranked dead last in the WAC in shooting, hitting only 33 percent of their shots on the season.
However, behind the strong play of Gilbreath and a number of other Aggies, New Mexico State shot 50 percent from the field in the first half - and 46 percent for the game - as they built a 35-29 halftime advantage.
New Mexico State hit 15-of-30 shots in the opening 20 minutes, including 5-of-12 from the three-point line, while the Lady Techsters hit 13-of-34, including a trio of three-pointers.
Tech made a push early in the second half as back-to-back three-pointers by freshman Lulu Perry cut the Aggies lead to 37-35 with 17:35 to play in the game. The Techsters then went cold over the next five minutes, hitting only 1-of-11 field goals as the Aggies used an 11-2 run to push the lead out to 48-37 with just under 12 minutes to play.
A pair of Gilbreath free throws at the 9:40 mark of the second stanza gave New Mexico State its largest lead of the game at 56-42 before Tech junior forward Tavasha Anderson began to go to work inside. Anderson scored all 10 of her points in the final nine minutes of play and her layup with 3:06 to play in the game closed the deficit to 62-58.
However, it was as close as Tech would get as New Mexico State snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series, winning for only the third time in 19 games.
In addition to Gilbreath's 18 points, Kelsie Rozendaal added 14 points, Sasha Weber 12 points and Danesia Williamson 11 points.
Tech returns to action Saturday when it hosts Texas-Arlington at 7 p.m.