LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Louisiana Tech used a pair of 15-0 second half runs to blow open a tight game as the Lady Techsters defeated New Mexico State 69-42 in Western Athletic Conference action Saturday before 1,109 fans at the Pan American Center.
Leading 22-19 at the half, Tech (10-10, 3-2 WAC) shot 52 percent (18-35) from the field in the second half as the Lady Techsters outscored the Aggies (4-16, 1-4 WAC) 47-23 after intermission.
Senior guards Kiara Young and Whitney Jones provided the spark as the duo each scored 15 points, combining to hit 11-of-18 field goals, 3-of-6 three-pointers and all five free throws while also pulling down 10 rebounds.
Young, who entered the game having hit only one three-pointer all season, connected on a pair of long-range bombs in the first two minutes of the second half. After a Tabytha Wampler layup with 17:09 to play cut the Tech advantage to 32-25, the Lady Techsters held the Aggies scoreless for more than six minutes.
Tavasha Anderson's layup with 11:20 to play capped the first 15-0 run of the second half as Tech led 49-25. A Kelsie Rozendaal free throw for the Aggies at the 10:53 mark snapped the run. NMSU then used a modest 8-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to 49-33 with 7:53 to play before LA Tech answered again, scoring 15 straight points over the next three-plus minutes to push the advantage to 31.
Head coach Teresa Weatherspoon emptied her bench with four minutes to play as the Lady Techsters won for the eighth straight time in the series and improved to 15-2 all-time against the Aggies.
The opening 20 minutes was an offensive struggle for both teams as Tech shot only 33 percent (9-27) from the field while NMSU shot only 29 percent (6-21).
In a half that saw five ties and seven lead changes, NMSU's biggest lead came at 10-8 while Tech's biggest first half advantage was 22-16. However, Wampler hit a three-pointer with 33 seconds to play in the first stanza as Tech led 22-19 at the break.
While Tech found its offensive rhythm in the second half, New Mexico State couldn't overcome the Lady Techsters defensive pressure as the Aggies turned the basketball over 25 times. Tech outscored the Aggies 33-6 on points off of turnovers.
For the game, Tech shot 44 percent (27-62) from the field, 7-of-19 from the three-point line and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. NMSU shot only 29 percent (12-42) from the field for the contest, hitting 3-of-11 from the three-point line and 15-of-23 from the free throw line.
Tech recorded 17 assists and only 12 turnovers while the Aggies outrebounded Tech 37-34.
Shantale Bramble-Donaldson added eight points and nine rebounds while Jasmine Bendolph and Angie Felton each added seven points.
Wampler led NMSU with 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Techsters return to action Thursday when they host Nevada at 7 p.m. and then Saturday when they host Fresno State at 7 p.m.