Ag women ride hot streak into WAC play
Watch out for the Aggies.
The New Mexico State University women’s basketball team is off to a hot start for the 2015-16 season.
In fact, the last time the Aggie women – who’ve snared victories in 11 of their first 14 games – started a season so well, Bill Clinton was just about to make his first State of the Union address to Congress, a gallon of gas cost $1.11 per gallon and a dozen of eggs could he had for 87 cents.
That was the 1993-94 season when many of the current Aggies were not even born yet.
Now the time has come for NMSU to build on its historic start and defend its Western Athletic Conference title. The conference champion Aggies – who whipped Western New Mexico University 68-39 in the final home non-conference game Monday, Jan, 4 – play host to WAC foe Grand Canyon University at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Pan American Center and then take to the road to tangle with Missouri-Kansas City (Thursday, Jan. 14) and Chicago State (Saturday, Jan. 16).
NMSU then returns home to meet Seattle University Thursday, Jan. 21.
With the non-conference slate concluded, NM State and its players lead the league in several categories or are in the top-10.
As a team NM State leads the league in scoring offense (69.9), scoring margin (+9.4), blocked shots (64), turnover margin (+4.2), 3-point field-goals made (105), steals (155) and defensive boards (26.1).
Sasha Weber’s 12.4 points per game is good for sixth while Brianna Freeman’s 11.4 points average has her in ninth. Freeman, who is shooting .509 from the field, trails just UVU’s Sam Loggins while Weber’s 44.5-percent from the field is good for eighth. Freeman’s 7.1 boards per game has her in fourth.
In the assist column, Shanice Davis is fourth in the WAC with 3.6 dimes per game while Weber is in ninth with 2.5.
Weber is also second in the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage, checking in at .402 and leads the league in 3-point field-goals made (2.5 per game). Fellow senior, Abby Scott is eight on the list with 1.8 triples per game.
Freeman, who is currently tied for 10th on the Aggies’ all-time blocks list with 67, is second in the conference with 1.5 blocks per game. Tamera William’s 30 steals has her sitting in third while Davis is in ninth with 1.6 swipes per game.
NM State hopes to see the same upward trend its players had last season once the conference slate begins. Last season, Sasha Weber (13.8) Shanice Davis (11.1) and Brianna Freeman (9.2) combined to average 11.3 points during the non-conference schedule. Once the dust settled, the three combined to average 16.5 points – 5.2 points better – in league play.
Trakh-ing the wins
NM State’s victory over Eastern New Mexico gave head coach Mark Trakh his 350th career-win at the helm. The fifth-year head coach has brought the national spotlight back to New Mexico State, leading the Aggies to their first WAC regular-season crown and first WAC Tournament title in 2014-15. He also led the Aggies to their first NCAA appearance since the 198788 season.
In the nation
Through Monday night’s games, NM State is tied for 46th in NCAA Division I women’s basketball with an 11-3 record. The Aggies are also in the top-75 of several categories.
On the offensive end, NM State’s 105 three-pointers has them in 31st-place while their 7.5 shots from downtown per game rank them 42nd.
On the defensive end, NM State’s 20.71 turnovers forced average is also good for 30th in the country. Its 155 steals on the year has them in 17th while its 11.1 steals per game puts NM State in 19th. New Mexico State’s 4.21 turnover margin is good for 39th in the nation. The Aggies’ 64 blocked shots also has them in 59th-place.
The Aggies’ 561 boards on the year has them just outside the top-75 at No. 79.
Best of the best
Sasha Weber currently ranks amongst the best of the best in the NCAA. Her 1,298 career points total has her tied 57th in the NCAA Division I active career leaders list in scoring while her 224 made 3-pointers has her checking in at No. 12 amongst active players.