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Aggies take care of business in opening round of WAC Tournament

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Aggies take care of business in opening round of WAC Tournament

Gia Pack kicks off the WAC Tournament with an efficient 29 point performance in NMSU's decisive win over Chicago State.

Gia Pack kicks off the WAC Tournament with an efficient 29 point performance in NMSU's decisive win over Chicago State.

Cassidy Kuester

Gia Pack kicks off the WAC Tournament with an efficient 29 point performance in NMSU's decisive win over Chicago State.

Cassidy Kuester

Cassidy Kuester

Gia Pack kicks off the WAC Tournament with an efficient 29 point performance in NMSU's decisive win over Chicago State.

New Mexico State looked the part of the top seed Wednesday night, riding an electric first half to an emphatic 84-60 victory over Chicago State in the the first round of the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas.

There was no doubt this was the Aggies’ game to lose from the get-go. NMSU absolutely dominated the first quarter, starting the game out with a ridiculous 17-0 run and finishing with a 20-5 that would last the remainder of the contest.

It was as good of a start as NMSU has had all season, with the Aggies knocking down nine of their 16 first quarter shots compared to a mere 18 percent shooting for CSU.

Chicago State would pick it up after the game’s opening 10 minutes, but NMSU’s hot hand would follow them to the second quarter as well, where the Aggies shot an eye popping 67 percent from the field and made four of of their five three point tries, bringing their total for the half to six on just nine long-range shots.

The dynamic duo of sophomore forward Gia Pack and junior guard Brooke Salas showed up big time in what may have been their best game of the season. Pack had a career night, scoring 20 points in the first half alone on only 10 shots and pouring in 29 for the entire game with five three pointers and Salas — the 2018 WAC Player of the Year — added 27 of her own points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The pair carried a significant amount of the offensive load, but this was one of the more balanced showings from head coach Brooke Atkinson’s squad, with ten of the thirteen players that saw floor registering a bucket.

The Aggies were no slouches on defense, either. NMSU blocked nine shots and stole the ball 13 times, negating any advantage Chicago State had on the boards (out-rebounding NMSU 44-29). Atkinson and the team have predicated themselves on that end of the floor all year long, and it showed tonight during their most important game of the year.

With this win, NMSU is one step closer to bringing home their fourth straight conference tournament championship and will have a full day of rest before they take the floor again Friday afternoon against the winner of Seattle vs. UMKC.

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About the Writer
James Martin, Sports Editor

James Martin is a second-year sportswriter and a sophomore majoring in journalism. He was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico and graduated from...

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Aggies take care of business in opening round of WAC Tournament