Spartans Fall In Last Seconds At New Mexico State

Las Cruces, N.M. - New Mexico State's Simone Ruedin hit two free throws, her only two points of the game, with 11 seconds left turning a one point San Jose State lead into a 56-55 New Mexico State Aggies advantage and a missed Spartans jumper with one second left sealed San Jose State's fate in a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) game Saturday night in The Pan American Center.

Brittany Johnson, who led the Spartans (9-16, 4-6 WAC) with 18 points, got a shot off with one second left.  The missed attempt was knocked out of bounds by the Aggies with 0.1 second remaining.  Myesha Broaden took the inbound pass, but her attempt from six feet away was waved off and New Mexico State (6-20, 3-8 WAC) came away with a 56-55 win.

"We outrebounded, hit more shots, forced more turnovers and went to the line more than them," head coach Tim La Kose said.  "But, they hit 87 percent and we shot 65 percent from the line and that was one of the factors which contributed to this loss."

Myesha Broaden led all players with 10 rebounds and the Spartans held a 36-to-31 advantage on the glass, including 18-to-12 on the offensive boards which they used in beating the Aggies 16-to-9 in second-chance points.

New Mexico State built its biggest lead of the game, 25-18, with 5:14 to go in the first half.  But, a Broaden jumper, a pair of Palagi Atoe buckets and a layup by Ta'Rea Cunnigan, who finished the night with 11 points, cut the lead to 25-24 with 1:16 left.  Tabytha Wampler hit a 3-pointer for New Mexico State with six seconds to go to send the team's to the locker room with the Aggies holding a 28-24 lead.

A pair of Johnson free throws gave the Spartans a 35-34 advantage with 14:10 left in the second half.  The lead changed hands three times over the next four minutes, but from 9:59 to 5:49 left to play neither team could score. 

Wampler, who led all players with 25 points, made a free throw to break the spell and give New Mexico State a 43-41 lead.  Then, on the Spartans next three possessions, Rachel Finnegan canned two 3-pointers sandwiched around a layup giving San Jose State a 49-43 lead with 4:19 to play.

The Spartans were still ahead, 53-52 with 1:08 to go, but a Wampler layup put the Aggies back in front by a point.  Broaden came back in the Spartans next possession and hit a jumper in the paint to put San Jose State back in front 55-54 with 31 seconds to go.

Still holding a one-point lead with 11 seconds to go, Sara Plavljanin fouled Ruedin and sent her to the line for what would turn out to be the decisive points.  For the game, NMSU went to the line 15 times and made 13 shots compared to San Jose State's 11-of-17.

The Spartans forced 22 turnovers, led by Broaden's three, which translated into a 24-to-9 advantage in points off turnovers for San Jose State.

San Jose State was 20-for-53 from the floor compared to New Mexico State's 18-for-47, but the Aggies hit seven 3-pointers to the Spartans four.

San Jose State wraps up the home portion of its schedule next week.  The Spartans host Nevada on Wednesday in their Think Pink game for Breast Cancer Awareness and on Saturday; welcome Fresno State on Senior Night.  Both games are scheduled to tipoff at 7:00 p.m. in The Event Center.