Aggies come out on top for big Senior Day win against Chicago State

Juliana Trujillo

More stories from Juliana Trujillo

Senior day for the New Mexico State women’s basketball team yielded a solid win, 80-71, over the Chicago State Cougars securing their spot in the women’s WAC Tournament. All eight seniors were able to record playing time and the Aggies improved to 10-16, 6-10. 

In the final game in the Pan Am of the season, Deja Terrell earned the team-high of the night with 13 points while Tayelin Grays and Adrianna Hendered recorded 12 each. Collectively, the team shot 43 percent from the field– their best since Jan. 20. They also had a strong defense and forced 19 turnovers which directly corresponded to 19 points. 

The scoring in the first quarter started a free throw by Bigue Sarr and continued with a layup from senior Jade Bradley. The Aggies were then quickly up 5-2 but the rest of the quarter continued to be neck and neck. Junior Fama Thiam started to find her groove and shot back to back triples to put NM State up 17-13 with 38 seconds left in the first frame until NM State forced a foul and it finished 17-15. 

Thiam stayed hot and started the second quarter with another three. With a jumper in the point from sophomore guard Taylor Donaldson, the Aggies went up five points until the Cougars went on a five point run. Tied at 30-30, junior Shania Harper put a stop to the Cougars scoring until the teams headed into halftime 34-34. 

The Cougars came into the third quarter tenacious but the Aggies quickly stole the momentum back and scored the next 12 points, 10 of which thanks to the free throw line. With less than a minute left in the third, senior Tayelin Grays nailed a three pointer from the left side to put the score at 54-45. With a final jumper from junior Moe Shida, NM State headed into the fourth quarter with a solid cushion sitting at 56-47.

The last frame started with an impressive crossover to layup by sophomore guard Molly Kaiser. The Cougars were able to get within six before Terrell and Grays combined for 11 points to secure the Aggies biggest lead of the game at 69-54. Chicago continued to battle and got the lead down to 10 when Grays scored her final points in the Pan Am to put her team up 12 points. 

“It’s been a long time that we’ve shot the ball probably this well…” she started. “So we just kept telling them to shoot with confidence and it’ll fall. Just keep into motion and in rhythm and they shot better today,” Coach Atkinson explained.  

With a secure spot in the WAC Tournament, the Aggies now look to raise their standings as they travel to play Stephen F. Austin at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on Thursday, March 3. This game is followed by their last game at Utah Valley at 12 p.m. on Saturday March 5.

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