The New Mexico State Aggie women’s basketball team has claimed its fifth-straight WAC regular season title. The Aggies defeated the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos on Thursday by a final score of 68-61. After defeating the Kangaroos, the Aggies took on the Chicago State Cougars on Saturday to win their 13th game in a row.
The Aggies had their first crack at claiming the outright WAC regular season title when they hosted UMKC inside the Pan American Center. The Aggies came out of the gates strong and were leading the Kangaroos by six points with about six minutes left in the first quarter. New Mexico State fell apart a bit at the end of the quarter and allowed UMKC to finish the quarter on a 19-2 run to lead the Aggies by 11 at the end of the quarter. The Aggies played a solid second to close the gap and found themselves only trailing by five going into the halftime break.
To start the second half, New Mexico State would tie the game at 33, but then hit another rough patch and allowed UMKC to go on a 13-2 run, which pushed their lead into double digits again. Feeling a sense of urgency, last season’s WAC Player of the Year, Brooke Salas, scored eight-straight points for the Aggies to pull them to within six points with about three minutes left in the third period.
The Kangaroos seemed determined to not be the team that allowed the Aggies to claim the title and finished out the third on a 9-3 run as New Mexico State went into the final quarter down by 11. The Aggies shifted gears in the fourth quarter and by around the six-minute mark were only trailing UMKC by four. With about one-minute left in the game, Gia Pack put the Aggies in the lead, 62-61, on a layup after Aaliyah Prince forced a turnover. The Aggies finished off the game on a 14-0 run to claim the WAC regular season title by defeating UMKC 68-61.
On Saturday, the Aggies welcomed the Chicago State Cougars into the Pan American Center. The Aggies were looking for their 13th straight victory. The Aggies found themselves in a little bit of a hole after the first quarter, trailing the Cougars by two points. New Mexico State would dominate the second quarter and would go into the halftime break with a comfortable 14-point lead. The Aggies would not squander their lead in the second half. NMSU went on to defeat Chicago State by a final score of 77-54 for their 13th straight win.
Due to her play in the two victories, Gia Pack earned the WAC Player of the Week honors. She averaged a double-double over the two games. She earned 17 points, 11.5 rebounds and 8 assists over the course of the two victories. Pack and the rest of the Aggies will be looking to finish out the season strong as they travel to Riverside, California, to take on the California Baptist Lancers on Saturday, March 9, with tip-off set for 2 p.m.