Oct 3, 2018
Espanola, N.M.—The Panhandle State women’s basketball team opened their 2018-2019 season on the road this weekend with the Northern New Mexico College Classic. The Aggies swept the two-game lineup, defeating the University of the Southwest 55-52 on Friday and topping NNMC by ten points (55-45) on Saturday.
Happy to have the first two games under their belts, Head Coach Victor Esparza offered, “I was proud of our effort this weekend. We had to grind it out for two wins, and were challenged in different ways but we responded well.” Esparza noted, “Our effort on the defensive side was really good. It was a total team effort for two days.”
On Friday, the Aggies led 27-22 at the half and came out with a big 20-point performance in the third period. The Mustangs made things interesting by outscoring the Aggies 18-8 in the fourth, going on a 14-point run and leaving the Aggies scoreless over a six-minute stretch. Senior Taylor Acosta came through with two clutch free throws in the final seconds to claim the Aggies’ first win of the season.
Acosta led the team in scoring with 12 points, including two shots landed beyond the arc and 4-8 from the free-throw line. Junior guard Addison Munsch totaled 11 points, followed by senior Monti Regier with nine, all scored from three-point range. Junior transfer Kelsea Illengo led the defensive efforts with seven rebounds along with Kim Best who had five boards. Acosta also offered three steals behind teammate Hannah Faulks with a game-high of four. As a team Panhandle posted 19 takeaways and totaled 12 points off turnovers.
Saturday saw the Aggies own a 13-9 lead over the Eagles in the first ten minutes of play, and hold a one-point advantage heading into halftime (29-28), despite giving up 19 points to NNMC in the second period. The team secured their second win by outscoring their opponents 26-17 in the second half.
Addison Munsch led the scoring in game two, taking 12 points and leading the game with five assists. Regier again led from long-range, landing three shots beyond the arc total nine points in the game. Panhandle’s next leading scorer was the team-leader at the boards, as Kelsea Illengo brought down ten rebounds and put up eight points against the Eagles. Faulks was also a heavy contributor at the boards with seven rebounds in the game. The Aggies outplayed the Eagles 41-25 in rebounds and scored 21 points at the line on 29 attempts.
The Aggie women remain on the road with a two-game series in McPherson, Kan. this week. They take on Bethel College on Friday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. and face McPherson College at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. Fans can catch the Aggies at Anchor D Arena for their home-opener on Nov. 9 against Friends University.
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