"We need to get ourselves ready to play early, tonight we didn't do that," Houser said. "We have to bring energy and effort from the beginning and come out ready to go instead of waiting 10 minutes into the half."
The 'Roos fell behind early 15-2, managing only a jumper by junior Ashli Hill over the first eight minutes of the contest.
New Mexico State would extend its lead to a first half high 22 at the 3:52 mark, but a 10-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back field goals and a pair of free throws by Houser, closed the deficit to 33-21 heading into halftime.
Dudding extended the run to 12-0 coming out of the break, but nine straight by the Aggies pushed the lead to 42-23 with less than 15 minutes left in the game.
A layup by Hill would end the NMSU rally and, after a field goal by the Aggies, Dudding and junior Kara Lee connected on back-to-back baskets to trim the margin to 45-29.
An Aggie three would push the lead back to 19, but six of the next seven went to UMKC, cutting the advantage to 49-35 with less than 10 minutes remaining.
New Mexico State, however, answered with seven straight free throws before two free throws and a reverse layup by O'Connor brought the score to 56-39.
The Aggies would again answer the UMKC rally, knocking down a trio of threes over their next five possessions, stretching the lead to 24 with just four minutes left to play.
Kansas City would add nine more points down the stretch, but it would not be enough as the 'Roos dropped their fifth straight contest, 75-50.
"Now that we are entering Summit League play, we have to come out like we have nothing to lose and stick together as a team," Houser added. "We can still turn our season around if we continue to work hard. Our goals haven't changed, we still are striving to get better every day."
The Blue & Gold will be back in action after Christmas when they open up Summit League play on Dec. 28 against Omaha at the Swinney Recreation Center in Kansas City at 7:05 p.m. CT with the game to be aired on KSMO.