Aggies win and move up in the standings behind a career night from Molly Kaiser 

Connor Moreno

More stories from Connor Moreno


David Castañeda

Guard Molly Kaiser jumps to reach the net during Thursday’s home game against UT Arlington on Feb. 23, 2023.

The New Mexico State (14-14, 9-7 WAC) women’s basketball team celebrated senior day and their final game home game of the season on Thursday night against the Mavericks of UT Arlington (13-15, 7-9 WAC). The women understood the assignment tonight and beat the Mavs 69-60 with a career night from junior guard, Molly Kaiser. 

New Mexico State currently has six seniors on their roster: Shania Harper, Moe Shida, Soufia Innoussa, Janessa Johnson, Fama Thiam, and Tayelin Grays. 

Despite having a better conference record than their opponents, the Aggies saw themselves a seed below them in the WAC Resume Seeding System. The system will decide the seedings in the WAC tournament.  


Guard Soufia Inoussa evades UT Arlington’s Starr Jacobs while handling the ball. Feb. 23, 2023. (David Castañeda)

As of Thursday afternoon, NMSU sat at the eighth seed which makes this final three-game stretch crucial in terms of tournament seeding. Their final three opponents – UT Arlington, Sam Houston, and Stephen F. Austin – all rank higher than them, and strong wins over each to close out the season could mean a huge jump in the standings and a potential first-round bye in the tournament.  

Molly Kaiser bursted out the gates to start the game hitting three of her patented mid-range jumpers and drawing a charge on the other end to push the home team to an early 8-0 lead in the first frame. It was not just Kaiser who was responsible for the Aggies’ fast start. Their defense was visibly energetic and did not let UTA get a bucket until almost halfway through the opening quarter. The New Mexico State defense has been a cornerstone to their staying afloat throughout conference play.  

The Mavs’ crafty guard combo of Jireh Washington and Taleyah Jones were able to control things offensively and string together some baskets to make it a 14-12 Aggie lead after one. 

Continued effort defensively from NM State really gave them the edge in the first half of the game, holding the Mavericks to just 17 first half points on 26% shooting. Constant energy, deflections, and communication on defense gave the Aggies a 30-17 lead going into halftime.  

The Aggies reminisce on their victory against UT Arlington on Feb. 23, 2023. (David Castañeda)

Led by a boost from Tayelin Grays, the home team was able to attain a 20-point lead at one point in the third quarter, but would end up going blow-for-blow with UTA for the remainder of the quarter. Despite dwindled energy on defense, the Aggies were still able to hold a 17-point lead going into the final quarter.  

The measure of how good a basketball team is on a given night is how they can close out the game. UT Arlington went on their run in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to as little as six. But, behind Molly Kaiser’s career-high 27 points, NMSU was able to close out the game and move up in the WAC rankings.  

Next up, the Aggies face the top team in the conference, Stephen F. Austin (23-5, 13-3 WAC). A win against the Lumberjacks would sure give New Mexico State a boost in the WAC resume seeding. They play in Nacogdoches, Texas on Tuesday, Feb. 28. 

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