LEXINGTON, KY (WJHL) – The lead changed hands 12 different times in Saturday afternoon’s Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) semifinal, but it was the Aggies that topped the Bucs with some key buckets down the stretch.
ETSU trailed by just three points on two separate occasions with under 30 seconds to play, but couldn’t creep any closer in the 57-53 loss.
New Mexico State slowed the pace of the game from the start and increased the defensive pressure for the entire contest. The Aggies came up with ten steals on the afternoon and forced the Blue and Gold into 16 turnovers.
“New Mexico State did a tremendous job of pressuring us in the half-court and in the full-court in the second half,” ETSU head coach Brenda Mock Brown said. “That’s sort of been our Achilles heel – when teams are pressuring us and are a little bit more physical.”
“I think the second thing they did well was crash the boards,” she continued. “This year we were actually the worst defensive rebounding team in the Southern Conference. That probably surprises some people – because we were a really good offensive rebounding team. It came back to bite us – we know that’s something we need to work on for the future.”
The Bucs were out-rebounded 36-27 on the day, despite a monster performance from sophomore Jakhyia Davis on the glass.
Davis paced ETSU with a 16-point, ten-rebound double-double. Courtney Moore and Jiselle Thomas each finished with 12 points in the loss, as well.
No Aggies player scored more than nine points, but the NMSU bench out-scored the Bucs 19-0 in the win.
ETSU (24-10) will play one final game on Sunday evening. The Bucs will battle Georgia Southern for 3rd place at 5 p.m.