Written By: Bill Harty
Friday night was the lone exhibition game to begin the new season for the New Mexico State Aggie women’s basketball team. After a difficult year (6-24, 3-11 WAC) in Mark Trakh’s first as Aggie head coach ended on a high note as the Aggies made a serious run at eventual champion Fresno State in the WAC tournament, expectations are a bit higher for the new season.
The Aggies believed they had graduated four seniors from last year’s squad, including forward Tabytha Wampler, who was the best offensive player on last year’s team, and guards Kaitlyn Soto and Erica Sanchez. However, forward Kelsie Rozendaal was granted another year of eligibility and joins six others returning to this year’s squad: Senior forwards Chrissy Fletcher and Malia Magazzeni, and guards Camila Rosen, a senior, junior Jasmine Rutledge, sophomore Simone Ruedin, and redshirt freshman Elena Holguin, from Las Cruces Mayfield High School. Trakh and his assistants added six new players, all guards, for this season: senior Southern California transfer Stefanie Gilbreath, sophomore San Diego transfer Danesia Williamson, and freshmen Alexis Nelson, Abby Scott, Sasha Weber, and Shay Young.
The Aggies’ opponents were the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks, from Durango, Colorado. Last year’s Skyhawks (26-5, 19-3 RMAC) made a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs, and completed the season ranked in the ESPN/USA Today top 25, where they had been every week of the prior four years. The Skyhawks were national runners-up in 2010, and over the past four years had a home record of 57-1. However, Fort Lewis graduated five seniors, four of whom started regularly, and lost their coach, Mark Kellogg, to Northwest Missouri State. Continue Reading This Post >>