Las Cruces, NM - The three-time defending Western Athletic Conference Champion New Mexico State women’s basketball team announced its 2017-18 schedule that features 14 home games and 14 road matches with a matchup against a top PAC-12 team.
The Aggies welcome back eight players from the 2016-17 squad who led the team to a 24-7 record, which included a WAC regular season and tournament title as well as an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Head coach Brooke Atkinson brought in three new faces to the coaching staff for the upcoming season. Assistant coaches Ryan McAdams, Aisha Stewart and DeAudra Brown all join the NM State family. Earl Lewis returns for his second season as director of basketball operations.
The 2017-18 schedule features two non-conference tournaments before the end of 2017. NM State kicks off the season at home against Western Michigan on Nov. 12, followed by UT Permian Basin on Nov. 14. Four days later, the Aggies hit the road to take on in-state rival, New Mexico, on Nov. 18.
“We have a really good schedule this season,” head coach Brooke Atkinson said. “Our home schedule is great. We start the season at home with Western Michigan, who went to the WNIT last year after having a 19-game winning season and they had only one senior graduate. They’re a big athletic team. We’re at The Pit a few days later to play New Mexico. Coach [Mike] Bradbury does a really good job.”
The Aggies return to its home court Nov. 20 to take on Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the team heads east to El Paso, Texas for the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic where New Mexico State faces Texas Southern and Arkansas.
“We come home and host Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and then we go to the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic,” Atkinson said. “We’ll play Texas Southern the first game, who won their league last year, and then Arkansas who’s coached by Mike Neighbors. Neighbors had great success at Washington and I know he’ll do well with that team.”
The week every NM State fan anticipates finally arrives when the Aggies take on New Mexico for the second time on Dec. 2 and Battle of I-10 rival, UTEP, on Dec. 10. New Mexico State then hits the road to make stops at Arizona on Dec. 14 and Pepperdine, Dec. 17. Right before the Christmas holiday, NM State participates in the Long Beach Classic, Dec. 20 – 21, where the team squares off against Northeastern and a potential matchup against Long Beach State or Illinois State.
“First week of December we have our two rivals, UTEP and New Mexico, at home and then we start a nice swing on the road where we play at Arizona, Pepperdine and then we’re in the Long Beach Classic,” said Atkinson. “We open that up with Northeastern. Win or lose that game, you have a chance to play Long Beach State, who won the Big West Conference Tournament last season. They’re in a great league alongside UC Davis, who won the league in the regular season.”
The Aggies remain home for a while when they host UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 29 and Western New Mexico on Dec. 31. Then, it’s on to WAC play when NM State hosts Chicago State (Jan. 6), Grand Canyon (Jan 11) and CSU Bakersfield (Jan. 13).
“We open up after Christmas with UC Santa Barbara, who did well in the Big West and upset UC Davis in the first round of the tournament,” Atkinson said. “Bonnie Henrickson did a great job during her time at Kansas and continues to do a great job leading UCSB. We play Western New Mexico on New Year’s Eve and then we start conference play. We have three at home right at the hit with Chicago State, Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield.”
Conference action continues when NM State hits the road to take on Seattle U, Jan. 18, and Utah Valley two days later on Jan. 20. To close out the month of January, the Aggies play host to UMKC Jan 27.
Life on the road becomes a norm in the month of February when New Mexico State heads to Texas to compete against UT Rio Grande Valley (Feb. 3), before heading west to play against CSU Bakersfield (Feb. 8) and Grand Canyon (Feb. 10). Then, the Aggies return home to host Utah Valley on Feb. 15 and Seattle U on Feb. 17. It’s not long before the team heads back on the road when NM State travels to the Windy City and takes on Chicago State, Feb. 22, and Kansas City for its game against UMKC on Feb. 24.
To close out the regular season, the Aggies host UT Rio Grande Valley on March 3, before heading to Las Vegas for the WAC Tournament, beginning March 7.
“In our eyes, we have three seasons,” said Atkinson. “We have preseason, conference and then the conference tournament. We’re just going to take one game at a time and see what the season has in store for our program.”