LAS CRUCES, N.M. Seattle University women’s basketball (8-11, 2-2 WAC) led early but relinquished the lead and allowed WAC-leading New Mexico State (16-3, 5-0 WAC) to score key points off turnovers en route to a 69-54 Aggie win.

“This was a tough loss and we didn’t take care of the ball well,” said head coach Joan Bonvicini. “Taelor [Ross] started the game well, getting the ball inside, and Masha [Shtikel] had a nice game but we need to do a much better job not just with our guards but with everyone. Turnovers killed us and we didn’t rebound as well as we should – we need to be more patient and execute our offense better. For us, I think it’s just important to show more poise and toughness – both individually and as a team.”

After Taelor Ross (Vancouver, Wash.) won the tip for the Redhawks, she combined a jumper with a Masha Shtikel (Shoreline, Wash.) three to give Seattle U an early 5-0 lead. The Aggies tied the score at five before converting four Redhawk turnovers to a 8-4 run to lead, 13-9, by the first media timeout.

Delanie Parry (Beaverton, Ore.) cut the Aggie lead to two, 15-13, on a jumper with 1:26 left in the first quarter before Ross tied the game at 15 with 37 seconds left in the opening period. Parry was fouled as time expired in the first quarter and hit two of three to end the quarter after half a second was re-added to the clock, giving SU a 17-15 lead.

Shaylin Heredia (Tolleson, Ariz.) scored the first points of the second quarter 2:17 in to give the Redhawks a four-point lead, 19-15, but NM State would answer with a 9-0 run to lead 24-15 by the 4:33 mark.

A Tal Sahar (Tarzana, Calif.) three and pair of free shots from Heredia tied the game for the fifth time but after a Heredia jumper, Brooke Salas sank two three’s to give NM State a four-point lead, 30-26, at half.

Sahar brought the Redhawks back within one, 30-29, on a three-pointer 11 seconds into the third quarter before Sasha Weber answered with a three. Shtikel and Brianna Freeman traded free throws before Freeman put the Aggies up by six, 36-30, on a layup at 7:53.

The Aggies scored six straight to lead by nine before Ross cut into the lead, 42-35, with a layup at 4:36 but Davis would give NM State a double digit lead, 45-35, with a three-pointer 3:32 before the end of the third quarter.

Sahar and Ross brought SU within seven one more time, 46-39, just under two minutes until the third quarter buzzer but Weber and Tamera William scored five straight to put NMSU up, 51-39, leading into the final 10 minutes of play.

A Cydnee Ceballos (Phoenix, Ariz.) layup 14 seconds into the fourth quarter and a pair of Shtikel free throws three minutes later brought SU within 10 but the Aggies would build their double digit throughout the quarter to earn the victory.

Ross led the Redhawks with 16 points while Sahar (11) and Shtikel (11) followed closely behind. Shtikel also hit a career-high five free throws.

Despite the loss, Seattle U led in shooting from the field, shooting 37.7 percent (20-for-53) to NM State’s 36.8 percent (25-for-68).

The Redhawks close the weekend traveling to UTRGV, who is currently sitting in second place in WAC standings, for a Saturday night contest in Edinburg, Texas. The 5 p.m. PT game will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network at www.wacsports.com/live.

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