Bill Harty's TMM Season 9 Recaps

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Bill Harty's TMM Season 9 Recaps

TMM9 :: The Distaff Side At New Mexico State

(This is the twenty-first installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

There are only two schools in the intersection of the set of schools that belonged to the Western Athletic Conference last year (2011-12) and those that will belong to the WAC next year (2013-14): the University of Idaho and New Mexico State University. Of course, there are only three of this year’s members that will return next year, adding Seattle University. Despite having that in common and despite having competed in the same conference most of the time since Idaho moved from the Big Sky to the Big West in 1996, this pairing does not seem to have become any sort of rivalry, for NMSU followers anyway. I guess the distances involved are too great for there to be much interaction between fans except for conference tournaments.

In women’s basketball, the Vandals have a 19-9 advantage over the Aggies in the series that began in 1982, with the two teams splitting last year’s games. NMSU got one of its three conference victories of 2012 over the Vandals in Las Cruces, 61-47; the Vandals took the game in Moscow to overtime, winning 61-59. Idaho arrives in Las Cruces with a 5-10 overall record and a 2-2 WAC record, losing at home both to conference leader Seattle and to Utah State, and defeating San Jose at home and Denver on the road on Thursday night. The Aggies’ record stands at 9-6, 3-2 in the WAC including a home victory over Louisiana Tech, and road wins at UTSA and Texas State; their conference defeats have both come at home, in the opener against Texas-Arlington and Thursday, when hosting Seattle.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Cold Shooting And Colder Shooting

(This is the twentieth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

Thursday night was the first ever women’s basketball game between the Seattle Redhawks and the New Mexico State Aggies. NMSU teams have lost the three previous times they have faced teams coached by Seattle’s veteran mentor, Joan Bonvicini, all in 1991: Bonvicini coached Long Beach State for the final year in NMSU’s first season in the Big West, winning in Long Beach, 98 90, and in Las Cruces, 111 81; the following season, Bonvicini brought her Arizona Wildcats into Las Cruces in December, winning 100 97. Bonvicini first faced a Mark Trakh-coached Pepperdine squad in the 2001 WNIT; Arizona won that game, and both games in a home-and-home arrangement the following two seasons. The two coaches faced each other in the Pacific Ten conference when Trakh moved to Southern California in 2004; Trakh had a 7-2 advantage in the USC-Arizona games during those years. Bonvicini has coached more victories than all but ten women’s collegiate coaches.

Seattle and New Mexico State share another bit of history: both teams were once coached by Cathy Benedetto, who grew up in the Seattle area. Benedetto coached the Chieftains (Seattle’s nickname until 2000) for three seasons, 1977 1980, and later led the Roadrunners (NMSU women’s team nickname until 2000) for two seasons, 1981 1983. The Seattle Times ran a retrospective on Title IX several years ago that included this article by Benedetto.

Seattle came to Las Cruces as the only undefeated team in WAC play, with a 6 6 overall record, with non-conference wins over Portland, Sacred Heart, and Portland State. Redhawk losses include Pacific, Washington, and three road games: Colorado State, Pepperdine, and BYU. The only common opponent to date between the Aggie and Redhawk schedules is UC-Irvine, Seattle losing at home to the Anteaters 61 60 in overtime, while the Aggies defeated the Anteaters 50 44 in the championship of the Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. In conference play, Seattle has defeated Idaho in Moscow and both Utah State (in overtime) and San Jose State at home. The Aggies have won three of four conference games, losing the first game at home to UT-Arlington, defeating Louisiana Tech, and then sweeping the road trip to UTSA and Texas State. Both teams entered this game winning three consecutive games, and the winner would hold first place in the conference standings.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Not Tonight, Bobcats!

(This is the nineteenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

“Southwest Texas State Normal School opened its doors in 1903. Over the years, the Legislature broadened the institution’s scope and changed its name in succession, to Normal College, Teachers College, College, University, and in 2003 to Texas State University-San Marcos.” (TSU website) Texas State moves this season from the Southland Conference, along with conference mates UTSA and UT-Arlington, to the Western Athletic Conference. Like the others, this is a one-time through season in the WAC, as they all move to other conferences next year: UTSA to Conference USA, and both Texas State and UT-Arlington to the Sun Belt.

Texas State’s opponents for this second game of their first WAC road trip are the New Mexico State Aggies. This is only the third meeting between the schools: Southwest Texas State won a second round game against New Mexico A&M in the 1952 NAIB tournament in Kansas City, and the Bobcats lost on their previous visit to Las Cruces in late 1987.

The Bobcats arrive in Las Cruces with only four wins in fifteen games, having lost all three WAC games including Thursday’s defeat at Denver, and their last six games overall. The four Texas State wins have come against Fordham, Division III UT Tyler, UC-Riverside in the seventh place game of the Great Alaska Shootout, and UT-Pan American. New Mexico State stands at 7-8 overall, with a 1-2 WAC record, having won their Thursday game against UTSA.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Cold Weather Outside; Hot Shooting Inside

(This is the eighteenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

For 2012-13, the University of Texas at San Antonio joins the Western Athletic Conference for its only season, having already joined Conference USA for next year. Tonight is the first of the Roadrunners’ nine WAC road games, visiting New Mexico State. The first week of WAC play went poorly for both teams: UTSA lost two games at home to Utah State and San Jose State, two of the hottest WAC teams at the start of the season, San Jose somewhat unexpectedly. New Mexico State lost two on the road, first at UT-Arlington, then at Louisiana Tech; this was a disappointment for one of the teams favored to compete for the top of the WAC in the preseason polls, but both defeats were from other teams in that group.

Before the conference season started, the Roadrunners (4-8) played only one home game, defeating USC-Upstate. Road wins were against Holy Cross (at ODU), Old Dominion, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; losses came to Morgan State (at ODU), BYU, Oregon, CSU-Bakersfield, Mississippi State, and USC-Upstate. The Aggies (6-8) got a road win at South Alabama to balance against away losses to Oregon State, Bucknell (at Niagara), Niagara, UTEP, and New Mexico; at home, the record is better, one loss to New Mexico offsets wins over Southeastern Louisiana, Northern New Mexico, Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Mississippi, and Missouri State.

This is only the fourth meeting between the two men’s basketball programs. The Aggies have won two: the neutral court game in Utah State’s tournament in December 2003 (62-53), and the December 2005 game in Las Cruces (74-72). In between, the Roadrunners won the January 2005 overtime game in San Antonio (81-74). For both teams, this is the third game in six days, with another to follow on the weekend.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: A Rare Victory

(This is the seventeenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

With six schools departing the WAC after this season, many of the games this year will be the “last time” one team visits another, at least within the current conference structure. Tonight’s visit of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters to Las Cruces to face the New Mexico State Aggies is another of those.
Louisiana Tech is a storied women’s basketball program with a proud history, following on the heels of early pioneers West Chester, Immaculata, Wayland Baptist, and Delta State. Twice, Louisiana Tech lost to Old Dominion in the final four of the AIAW national championship, in 1979 and 1980, before winning that organization’s final national championship in 1981. The next year, the NCAA took over the sponsorship of women’s sports and Louisiana Tech again won the national championship. After making the final game two years out of the next five, the Techsters won their second NCAA championship in 1988. Tech has returned to the final game twice more, in 1994 and 1998. Their six NCAA championship game appearances trail only Tennessee (13) and Connecticut (7).

New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech’s memberships in the Sunbelt Conference only overlapped by one year; because of the divisional alignment, the teams only played once in 2001, Tech winning 75-46 in Las Cruces. The Techsters moved to the WAC later in 2001, followed by the Aggies in 2005. The two schools have met seventeen times in WAC competition, including three conference tournament games. Tech has won all but two of those games. The Aggies won one in the 2007 tournament, the other in the 2008 regular season; both Aggie victories came in the Pan American Center. The Techsters enter this game on a nine-game winning streak against the Aggies. Of eighty-eight prior games against the current members of the WAC, Louisiana Tech has won eighty-four. (Utah State also has two wins over the Techsters.)  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Cold Shooting Beats Ice Cold Shooting

(This is the sixteenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

The last Saturday of December brought the first ever WAC women’s basketball game for the University of Texas at Arlington. The Mavericks came to Las Cruces to face the New Mexico State Aggies for the fifth time in the programs’ histories. Arlington had won all four of the previous meetings, once in Arlington, during December 2004, and three times in the Pan American Center: in the 1981 and 1983 L’eggs Classics, and a 2005 regular season meeting. This will be the only Las Cruces WAC meeting between the women’s basketball teams as UTA will join the Sunbelt conference next season.

The Aggies’ pre-conference record was 6-4, matching the prior year team’s win total for the season in the first ten games. Most notable in the wins was a home victory over rival UTEP, the Miners’ only loss in their first fourteen games; before the break the Aggies’ previous game was a December 21 win over Kansas City. The Mavericks came to town with a 2-8 record, with road victories at Houston Baptist and North Texas; their last game was a December 22 loss to Oklahoma State. Both the coaches and media picked UTA last in the preseason polls; the Aggies were projected ninth by the media and eighth by the coaches.

The game began before a small, holiday crowd of about 1,150. There was a small band, even though school would continue out of session until January 17. Though the Mavericks won the tip, freshman Abby Scott’s three-pointer for the Aggies started the scoring. Two layups by forward Desherra Nwanguma put the Mavericks into the lead, before an NMSU 12-2 run put them back ahead; freshman Sasha Weber got two triples in that run. The Aggie lead grew to eight at 19-11, and then was cut to four twice at 22-18 and 25-21. As the clock ran out on the first half, Aggie guard Stefanie Gilbreath made a desperate heave from behind half court that was short of the goal, but she was fouled by UTA’s Laila Suleiman. Gilbreath coolly dropped in the three free throws to make the Aggies’ halftime lead seven points.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: A Holiday Gift For The Home Crowd: Lots of T's For Threes

(This is the fifteenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

Four days before Christmas, both the Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos and the New Mexico State Aggies faced off in each team’s final game before beginning conference play. The Kangaroos come into Las Cruces with a 4-8 record, and a four-game losing streak, having last won on November 30 at Air Force. The ‘Roos other Division I victories had come against Southeast Missouri State and at LIU. The Aggies’ record was 5-4; they had just lost rivalry games at UTEP and to New Mexico. The Aggies and Kangaroos have met three times historically: first in the consolation game of 1989 Cowgirl Classic, a 61-58 NMSU victory; next, in the opening round of the 2005 UTSA Thanksgiving Classic, won by the ‘Roos 89-55; and last season’s 68-57 win by the ‘Roos in Kansas City.

Kansas City is a member of the Summit League, which is pushing away from using initials and hyphens to describe their teams, asking people to call their teams Kansas City, not UMKC; Omaha, not UNO or Nebraska-Omaha; and Fort Wayne, not IPFW or Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne. (Liking the city thing is probably why they have raided the WAC for Denver, who moves there next year.) In the Summit’s preseason combined coaches/media poll for this season, Kansas City was picked second behind South Dakota State. WAC coaches projected the Aggies eighth in the 2012-13 WAC; the media had them ninth.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: The Distaff Rio Grande Rivalry

(This is the fourteenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

The second round of the Rio Grande Rivalry in women’s basketball also marked another return to Las Cruces for second year UNM coach Yvonne Sanchez. Before going to UNM, Sanchez had been an assistant to previous NMSU head coaches Mike Peterson and John Sutherland for six years. Most recently she assisted long-time UNM head coach Don Flanagan for eleven years; Sanchez played her prep basketball at Albuquerque Eldorado, playing for Flanagan during Eldorado’s state-record seventy-four game win streak.

Historically, New Mexico State is 22-45 against the Lady Lobos overall and 11-21 in Las Cruces. The last Aggie win against UNM in Las Cruces was in 2007; it was the only NMSU win in the past 12 seasons. Last year in Las Cruces, the Lady Lobos squeaked out a 59-58 victory in a game the Aggies led by eight at the half. Earlier this year, UNM handily defeated a cold-shooting Aggie team, 60-37. Despite taking twelve more field goal attempts than New Mexico, the Aggies made ten fewer goals; 21.9% shooting will not win many games, especially when you are 0-18 from beyond the three-point arc.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Young Teams Battle Before Conference Play

(This is the thirteenth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

Today's matchup between Missouri State and New Mexico State is only the second time the two schools have met on the hardwood. On December 12, 1950, the New Mexico A&M Aggies visited Springfield and were defeated by the Southwest Missouri State College Bears, 64-54. Although the Aggies were once members of the Missouri Valley Conference, Southwest Missouri State University joined the MVC in 1991, eight years after New Mexico State moved to the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (now the Big West), looking then as they are now for a home for their football program.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: The Rio Grande Rivalry Continues

(This is the twelfth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

The Rio Grande Rivalry measures the competition between New Mexico State and New Mexico in the fourteen sports they sponsor in common. Points are assigned to each sport and divided among the contests between the two schools. In basketball, both men's and women's, as well as baseball and softball, there are always multiple games each year; some years there are also multiple volleyball matches. New Mexico has won the overall contest each year since it started in 2007-08; last year's rivalry would have been a tie had the decision gone the other way in a May 15 baseball victory for the Lobos, 12-10 in eleven innings; it was the only Lobo victory in the four games played last season. This year, the Aggies have won the volleyball points, but nothing else to date, including last night's second rivalry game for women's basketball.

The men's basketball rematch between New Mexico and New Mexico State did not have to wait long this year. Four days after playing in Albuquerque's Pit, the teams tipped off again in NMSU's Pan American Center. Despite the students being gone for the holidays, there were 8177 people in attendance at the game, partly because of this full page ad that ran daily for two weeks in the Las Cruces Sun-News.  Continue Reading This Post >>