Henderson buzzer-beater saves Aggie win over UTRGV


Adrianna Henderson comes up clutch in NM State's 76-75 win over UT Rio Grande Valley.

The New Mexico State women’s basketball team carved out a more comfortable position near the top of the WAC after Thursday’s last second 76-75 win over UT Rio Grande Valley at the Pan American Center.

After giving up the lead with just over six seconds to play, NM State sealed a second straight victory with an Adrianna Henderson buzzer beater in traffic.

“It was just a simple screen across, people are obviously going to focus on Gia and we wanted to bring A.D. off the flat ball screen. She has a great feel for the rim to get in there and finish because she’s a bigger, stronger guard,” head coach Brooke Atkinson said of the game’s final moments. “We had two shooters in the corners, we knew they were going to stay attached and we had Tay kind of running into the rim, if she did miss, to get a tip.”

NM State controlled the game ever moment prior to the later part of the 3rd quarter, when the Vaqueros hauled in a 20-2 point run to gain their first lead of the entire game. After this run, the game was back and forth in regulation after a Gia Pack missed three point attempt to send the Aggies to overtime.

“It was 0-0. Every possession mattered, we were letting them kinda get ahead of steam and we had to do better stopping the basketball,” Atkinson said. “In the fourth quarter we just played a much better team side of basketball.”

With under a minute remaining in overtime, two missed free throws held down UTRGV as NM State controlled the ball on their side of the court when a charging foul was dished out to Aggie  starting guard Tayelin Grays — resulting in the Vaqueros marching down court to hit a bucket with six seconds left. That gave enough time for NM State to seal the deal.

Another win means another Gia Pack MVP outing — one where the senior dropped a casual 26 points, while going six of nine from beyond the arc, while tacking on 11 rebounds and a pair of assists.

“Our focus is always we gotta get our energy, our flow, from the defensive end, let that carry over to the offensive end.” Atkinson said.

Now sitting on a two win streak and .600 in conference play, the Aggies will look to continue their luxurious WAC play against Cal State Bakersfield next Thursday.

“Each game we have to handle ours, we can’t worry about what everybody else does… From now on out, it’s that next game on the schedule,” Atkinson said. “That’s the most important. We can’t look behind us, we can’t look too far ahead of us.”

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