WBB: Trouble in Paradise

deva ju for Coach Blair - Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

Before the game, Coach Blair talked about how he'd like to see the Cold War between tu and TAMU end so the schools can play each other in the state of Texas instead of having to wait more than a year to see each other an ocean away from home. The Longhorns recovered from their shellacking by Syracuse to hand the Aggies a bad loss in the Virgin Islands.

In our preview for the Paradise Jam I wrote:

I think Texas presents matchup problems, and their size in the paint could highlight our lack of a zone-breaking 3-pt shooter. Texas isn't just big, they rebound well, outboarding the Cardinal 55-40. Can Karla and Achiri do better against the tu front than consensus All-America Ogumwike?

tl:dr answer: No.

Yesterday's win against overmatched Memphis raised a number of red flags that provided tu with a roadmap to keep A&M feeling like the Paradise Jam was more of a rush hour traffic jam from Hell.  After keeping it close for the first 8 minutes or so despite awful shooting, the Ags let tu put on a clinic and open a double-digit lead by halftime. The first half was highlighted, if you're a t-sip fan, by Ags dribbling into a packed in defense and either throwing up a bad shot or turning the ball over.  On the other end, A&M provided fewer obstacles to the Longhorn women, letting the Austinites get some nice video for teaching the basics of the pick and roll and how not to front a player in the paint.  The differing opportunities showed up in 31.7 vs 45.3 shooting percentages, where the Ags 31.7% was lower for most of the game. Texas held a double-digit lead for most of the second half.

Gary Blair's offenses are run by his point guards and while Jordan Jones and Curtyce Knox are talented, they showed their youth and inexperience again. Jones went 4-8 from the field with only one assist, while Knox went 2-6 with two 3-pointers in 16 minutes.  One memorable Jones miss was on a breakaway layup after a steal by Knox late in the game. Tori Scott fouled Enempkali on the rebound and the 4 point swing put the final nail in the coffin.

Achiri Ade had another poor game, missing early and often from the paint. Ade went 0-4 in the first half and 2-8 for the game.  The CW network finished with 11 for Williams and 15 for Walker. Karla Gilbert managed to get 8 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks, but was overrun by the rotation of Texas posts.

In their losses against Stanford and Syracuse, I wasn't that impressed with  6-7 Imani McGee-Stafford . Texas coach Karen Aston must have seen the post as a problem too, and gave freshman post Kelsey Lang the start against the Ags. McGee-Stafford averages double figures, but tends to be inefficient. Lang played well, scoring 10 and grabbing 6 rebounds. The star of the game, unfortunately, was frontline teammate Nneka Enempkali, who had contributed as a freshman to the sips last win vs the Ags in Austin. Enempkali had an emphatic double double: 20 pts, 11 rebounds, and only 1 turnover.

Texas did manage to turn the ball over 22 times, but the Ags did not convert very often. Many of the turnovers were overly enthusiastic entry passes that went out over the baseline. In general, Texas did a great job with transition defense.  A&M returned the favors by turning the ball over 19 times. Unfortunately more of those were the "thow a bad pass to set up a breakaway" kind. Anyone wanting to dissect the debacle can watch the replay of the stream:


The Ags' poor performance does not bode well for playing Syracuse tomorrow, but I'll still check it during the football game at Mizzou. Cuse made short work of Memphis in the late game. Didn't watch it.

Here's the link to the upcoming video. BTHO Syracuse!

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