New Mexico State outlasts Texas Rio Grande in 20T, 76-73

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gia Pack scored seven of her 22 points to the second overtime to lead New Mexico State to a 76-73 double-overtime victory over Texas Rio Grande Valley in the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship and earn a berth in the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

It was the first time the WAC women’s championship game went into overtime.

The Aggies make their fifth straight postseason appearance, and return to the NCAA Tournament after playing in the WNIT last season. It marks their fourth WAC tournament title in five seasons.

New Mexico State’s Brooke Salas, who averaged a double-double during the regular season with 19.5 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, led all scorers with 29 points along with 12 rebounds. Stabresa McDaniel added 10 points for the Aggies.

Pack, who was named MVP, set a tournament record for total points scored with 86 in the Aggies’ three wins.

With the game tied at 72, a Salas putback gave the Aggies a 74-72 lead. Texas Rio Grande Valley had a chance to tie the game, but Nichele Hyman missed the second of two free throws.

Salas hit two free throws with two seconds remaining to seal the win.

The Vaqueros had four players score in double figures, led by Quynne Huggins, who had 19 points. Idil Turk, who leads the Vaqueros offense with 10.4 points per game, and Amara Graham each scored 15 for the Aggies. Megan Johnson chipped in with 10 points, while Madison Northcutt had 14 rebounds to go along with four points.

The Aggies, who won their fifth-straight WAC regular season championship, are 67-5 in WAC play since the 2014-15 season. The Aggies also improved to 13-5 in Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena, since the WAC moved its postseason tournament there for the 2010-11 season.

New Mexico State’s 17-game winning streak is tied for the longest in program history.

Also named to the all-tournament team were Salas, Northcutt, Alexxus Gilbert (CSU Bakersfield), Ericka Mattingly (Kansas City).