Women’s basketball looks to extend their four game win streak against New Mexico State

Senior forward Ajae Yoakum driving to the basket for a score. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Will Duval | Sports Director

The FIU women’s basketball team looks to continue their longest win streak of the season against the New Mexico State Aggies on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Coming into this matchup, the Panthers bolster a 10-5 record and have won four games in a row. In their most recent game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Saturday, Jan. 6, they displayed two-way dominance and took a 75-50 victory.

Vs. Jacksonville State:

That game marked the team’s first game of a schedule that only consists of Conference USA opponents for the remainder of the year. As FIU looked to make a splash into their conference schedule, pivotal performances from multiple players led them to a blowout win.

Sophomore forward Mya Kone led all scorers and contributed 28-points, setting a new career-high for points in a game. Beyond her scoring, she also added in 11-rebounds, two blocks, and made six of her nine 3-point attempts.

Providing the Panthers with an all-around dominant performance, Kone’s efforts earned her CUSA Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. She is the only player on the team to have taken home the award at least once this season.

Outside of her production, senior forward Ajae Yoakum was the only other player to score in double figures for FIU. 

Playing a team-high 37-minutes, she finished with 19-points, seven rebounds and shot 7-12 from the field. This game marked Yoakum’s second highest scoring performance of the season, only behind her 30-point game against Alabama A&M on Dec. 19, 2023.

When all put together, the offensive efficiency of both Kone and Yoakum factored into the Panthers’ large advantage in field goal percentage. Over the entire game, they shot 43.5% from the field and 47.6% from 3-point range.

While FIU was able to shoot the ball efficiently, they also played stifling defense and held the Gamecocks to a 34.5% field goal percentage. They also went 6-19 on their 3-pointers and struggled at the free-throw line, as they shot 37.5% on the night.

Through multiple standout performances and a team effort on the defensive side of the ball, they were able to take a 75-50 victory over JSU. 

Starting off their conference schedule with a win, the Panthers look to keep their win streak alive in their next game against the New Mexico State Aggies.

Vs. New Mexico State:

Entering this game, the Aggies hold a 6-8 record this season and are coming off a 81-72 loss to the UTEP Miners on Saturday, Jan. 6. Despite a 22-point outing from junior guard Jalia Harding, their offense was dwarfed by their opponent’s efficiency.

As a team, NMSU shot 42.4% from the field and 32% from 3-point distance, which is relatively close to par to their season average. However, they allowed the Miners to shoot 56.3% from the field and 70% from long range, which led to their defeat.

Unable to play consistent defense in the game, the Aggies took an 81-72 loss and extended their losing streak to four games. 

Despite their recent stretch of cold play, the losses may not be a clear indicator of their abilities. Of the four losses, three of the games finished with a single-digit differential on the scoreboard.

In their game against the Austin Peay Governors on Dec. 20, 2023, they pushed the game into overtime but couldn’t pull away and took a 57-55 loss. A similar situation occurred against the UT Arlington Mavericks, where they took a 61-60 loss in regulation.

With a team that is potentially motivated to snap a losing streak, FIU cannot afford to let their guards down in this matchup. If they execute their usual offensive and defensive game plan, the statistics indicate that they should win the game.

This season, the Aggies average 63.5-points per game and allow 58.8-PPG to their opponents. Their scheme revolves around playing at a slow offensive pace and winning the battle on the defensive end.

Comparatively, the Panthers score the ball at a much higher rate, as they average 71.8-PPG this season. Defensively, they allow opponents to score an average of 62.3-PPG, which is nearly the season average of NMSU.

Women’s basketball’s team statistics over their four game win streak. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics. Graphic design by Will Duval | PantherNOW.

However, FIU’s high rate of scoring comes at the slight expense of efficiency. As a team, they shoot  41.7% from the field and 32.7% from 3-point distance. 

Only beating them by a small margin, the Aggies hold 41.8% field goal percentage and a 35% 3-point percentage this season. Their slow paced offense results in less points scored but comes at a higher shooting efficiency.

By sticking to their own pace of play and executing their game plan, the Panthers have the opportunity to extend their longest win streak this season.

Looking to win their fifth game in a row, the FIU women’s basketball team is traveling to Las Cruces, New Mexico to take on the NMSU Aggies on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.

Tip off is set for 8 p.m. at the Pan American Center and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.


FIU: 73

NMSU: 61

Follow Will Duval on X: @WillDuval40

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