LAS VEGAS — The New Mexico State women’s basketball team held Seattle U to just 27% shooting and led wire-to-wire to advance to the Western Athletic Conference semifinals with a 56-46 win over the Redhawks on Wednesday afternoon at the Orleans Arena.
Seattle U finishes its season 11-14.
Irena Korolenko matched a career high with 15 points for the Redhawks. McKenzi Williams had 10 points and Hailey Vice-Neat grabbed eight rebounds.
New Mexico State (9-11) started the game well, building a 15-6 lead by the end of the first quarter before eventually extending it to 21-10 early in the second. However, the Redhawks closed the half on an 11-4 run to trim the lead to 25-21 at the break. The Aggies outrebounded Seattle U 24-13 in the first half.
The Redhawks then drilled a three out of the half to make it a one-point Aggie lead, 25-24, before Shania Harper sparked a 15-6 Aggie run that pushed the lead to 40-30 with 2:34 to play in the third. Seattle closed to 41-35 after three quarters.
The game slowed considerably in the fourth quarter. The Redhawks then closed the gap to 45-43, forcing an Aggie timeout with three minutes to play. The Aggies finished on an 11-3 run.
Three Aggies scored in double figures, led by Las Vegas native Harper who posted career highs in both points (15) and rebounds (13) for her second-career double-double. Aaliyah Prince had 12 points and eight rebounds and Soufia Inoussa scored 11.
Cal men cruise past Stanford
LAS VEGAS — Matt Bradley scored 19 points off the bench and reserve Ryan Betley scored 13 and No. 11 seed California never trailed beating sixth-seeded Stanford 76-58 in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament.
Bradley and Betley combined to shoot 11 for 16.
Cal also sent Stanford home in the first round of last year’s tournament with a 63-51 win before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
Cal (9-19) entered the tournament with just one win in its final 12 games. Wednesday’s win sends Cal into a potentially compelling Thursday quarterfinal matchup against No. 3 seed Colorado, the lone team Cal beat in its last 12 regular-season games.
Jaiden Delaire led Stanford with 14 points. Michael O’Connell and Oscar da Silva each scored 12.
• All a team needs to play in this year’s NCAA tournament is five healthy players. How about a coach? The NCAA will get back to you on that. The fluid nature of a March Madness played amid the coronavirus pandemic was spelled out Wednesday, hours before the NCAA selection committee began meeting to hash out a 68-team bracket.
In explaining a number of contingencies that could come into play if teams are exposed to COVID-19, NCAA senior VP of basketball Dan Gavitt said that as long as a team has five healthy players, it’s good to go. And if that team’s coaching staff gets decimated by the coronavirus?
“Honestly, it’s probably something we should talk about as a committee,” he said.