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Aggie basketball seasons getting under way


WOMEN: The NM State women’s basketball team opened at home Monday, Nov. 6 vs. Arizona, falling 68-57.  They play two road games Nov. 10 and 12, but return home for a game 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, vs. Portland State at the Pan Am.

Last year, the Aggies showed improvement in their first year under head coach Jody Adams. NM State finished 18-17 overall and 10-8 in the last year of Western Athletic Conference play. Those numbers were considerably better than the 2021-22 season, which saw the Aggies go 10-19 overall and 6-12 in conference.

The Aggies can again expect solid work from senior guard Molly Kaiser who was named last month to the Conference USA pre-season all-conference team. Kaiser led the Aggies last season in both scoring (13.0 points per game), assists (2.0 ppg) and steals (1.4 ppg), and chipped in 3.1 rebounds per game.

Also returning for the Aggies are Sabou Gueye, a junior guard; Ene Adams, a senior forward; Sianny Sanchez-Oliver, a junior guard; Sylena Peterson, a junior guard; Lucia Yenes, a sophomore forward; and Fama Thiam, a graduate-student guard.

There are several newcomers as well, ranging from a freshman to a graduate student. Imani Warren, a highly regarded 5-10 guard, comes to the Aggies from Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Maiya Bergdoff, a 5-11 junior forward, was the leading scorer and rebounder at Three Rivers, a junior college in Missouri. Femme Sikuzani Masudi, a 6-5 graduate student, is a center who played the last two seasons at the University of Texas.

After playing in a tournament in Brooklyn, New York, Nov. 24-25, the Aggies will play UNM at noon Saturday, Dec. 2, in Albuquerque. Then they’ll be home for three straight games Dec. 5 (UC Irvine), 12 (Western New Mexico) and 16 (Utah Valley).

Conference USA play begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, against UTEP in El Paso.

Through Nov. 18, Casa de Peregrinos  will have a food drive at the Pan Am for all Aggie basketball games, both men and women. Collection bins will be at the north and south concourse, as well as the Barbara Hubbard Room entrance.

MEN: For the Aggie men’s basketball team, the 2023-24 season is starting from scratch.

New head coach Jason Hooten assembled a brand-new squad with players from Canada to the Congo, and from seven different American states, and an Australian thrown in for good measure.

None have played together on the collegiate level.

NM State opened its season Monday, Nov. 6, on the road against the University of Kentucky, losing 86-46 to the 16th-ranked Wildcats.

The Aggies’ next home game is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, against Western New Mexico in the Pan American Center. The remaining home games for the calendar year are 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, against the University of the Southwest; 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 12, against Northern New Mexico; 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, against the University of New Mexico; and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, against California Baptist. The Aggies play UNM 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in Albuquerque.

Despite their lack of playing time together, players on the Aggie roster don’t lack playing time at a high level.

Four seniors on the roster – 6-6 guard Brandon Suggs, 6-6 guard Femi Odukale, 6-10 forward Kaosi Ezeagu, and 6-2 guard Jordan Rawls – have all played 86 or more games at the NCAA Division I level. And junior guard Christian Cook started 52 games for Division II Northeastern (Okla.) State, leading the team in scoring last season.