Last year the Ags gave the Dawgs their only home loss. The game wasn't close and it only took the Ags until the 11:48 mark of the first half to take the lead for good. This year, we won't have the distinction of handing Georgia its only home loss, as Tennessee already did that. But it only took until 14:12 of the first half for the Ags to take the lead for the rest of the game. Like last year, the lead quickly swelled to double digits and stayed there. A pair of Jordan Jones steals that led to breakaway layups started the deluge. Tenacious man-to-man D and ferocious rebounding shook the Dawgs already fragile confidence to the point where they couldn't even make free throws; in the first half, Georgia was 3-11 on free throws (27.3%) and 7-25 from the field (28%).
The second half didn't start well for Georgia either. The Dawgs didn't score until Halle Washington made a free throw with 14:24 left, drawing cheers from the crowd, as that raised the Georgia FT performance to 4-15. By that time, the Ags were in the bonus. The one-sided outcome was even more remarkable given that Courtney William was held scoreless for most of the game, finishing with just 4 points. Williams sat most of the first half with foul trouble, and then picked up her third early in the second half and headed right back to the bench. Karla Gilbert was held to just 5 points by Georgia's packed-in 2-3 zone and Achiri Ade only scored 3. Courtney Walker (16), Jordan Jones (13), and Tori Scott (11) carried the scoring load for the Ags, with Walker and Scott hitting open jumpers and Jones converting turnovers into layups. Jones also had 7 assists, 8 rebounds, and only 2 of the Ags 21 turnovers. While Ade didn't score much, she was a beast on the boards, snagging a game-high 16 rebounds. The Ags won the rebounding battle 50-35.
A&M returns to Reed with a 6 game win streak, including two road SEC wins over ranked teams (with the qualifier that I'd be shocked if Georgia doesn't fall out of the top 25 next week). A&M also returns with a new graduate assistant on the bench: Sydney Colson of the 2011 National Champions has joined the staff.
Up next: South Carolina
Dawn Staley's 16-1 Game Hens are at #10 in the AP and should be higher with their win over #9 Kentucky on Thursday.
Last year the Ags beat the Gamecocks twice: once at their place and once in the SEC tourney. Both teams have a lot of new faces in the lineups. Ashley Bruner, Iesia Walker and Sancheon White are gone. 6-0 Jr F Aleighsa Welch and 5-9 So G Tiffany Mitchell return as starters. Mitchell leads the team in scoring, but four players are averaging in double digits. USCe promoted 6-4 Jr Elem Ibiam from a reserve role to the starting center position, but a significant fraction of the minutes in the post are going to highly ranked 6-4 freshman Alaina Coates. USCe has been starting 6-0 Soph Asia Dozier at the other forward opposite Welch. 5-8 Soph Khadijah Sessions started at point earlier, but has been rehabbing an ankle injury. 5-7 RS Freshman Tiffany Davis has been starting at point while Sessions recovers.
Staley's teams are known for being fundamentally sound, playing extremely hard-nosed defense and for offensive struggles. The scoring is up with a combination of recruiting paying off and the new "freedom of movement" rules, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Game Hens as the SEC schedule continues. I watched some of their game on Sunday, which finished after ours did. Auburn gave USCe a bit of a scare. By the time I tuned in, the game was tied at 55 with about 8 minutes to go. A couple of fast breaks off turnovers gave the Game Coquettes the lead for good, but Auburn put up a good fight til the end. S. Carolina played mostly 2-3 zone while I watched, but used some man defense.
With LSU knocking off Florida, S. Carolina and A&M are the last two teams that are undefeated in SEC play. The game on Thursday will be for the early lead. Preseason picks Tennessee and Kentucky already have 2 losses after the Vols fell at Vandy today.
USCe comes to Reed Arena for a game on Thursday Jan 16 at 7PM CST. The game should be televised on Fox Southwest. Apparently there is some kind of special plan for halftime:
Aggie Women's Hoops @AggieWBB
Aggie Students - we have a special halftime competition for you this upcoming Thursday. 3 students, 30 seconds and lots of chicken! #12thMan
Fil-A the Game Hens?
Also, the special halftime activity will be a Raising Cane's chicken finger eating contest.
The game is televised on FS Southwest Plus, due to the Boston Bruins at Dallas Stars game airing on FS Southwest. Fans with DirecTV can tune in to 677-1 to watch in HD, while DISH Network subscribers can watch on HD on 9581 and on the Hopper on 412-31. Bryan-College Station residents with Suddenlink can tune in to Channel 133 to watch the game on Fox College Sports in Standard Definition. Check your TV guide for listings.