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WBB: Aggies fall to BYU 72-64

The Women's Bouncy Ball team faces a long flight back to Texas after getting upset in both senses of the word against BYU.

Lexi Eaton Rydalch led BYU to an upset of the Ags in Hawai'i
Lexi Eaton Rydalch led BYU to an upset of the Ags in Hawai'i
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Ags game against BYU started at 6PM Central amid an evening of College Football Championships and Aggie Volleyball hosting a second round NCAA tourney game against #7 Hawai'i.

Coach Blair talked in the pregame about BYU always being a well coached team that can shoot the 3, and how they move well away from the ball. He also said BYU has a reputation for being floppers.

First Quarter

Blair went with Lumpkin at the 4 again with the rest of the regulars: Hillsman, CWill, CWalk, and Jones. The Ags were in their home uniforms. BYU used some nice shooting to gain an 11-6 lead, which the Ags cut to 11-8 by the first timeout. BYU was hitting on mid and long-range jumpers, often kicking out after penetration. The Ags scoring was more in the paint. Blair went to Rachel Mitchell early in the quarter even though Khaalia HIllsman was leading the Ags in scoring. Anriel Howard came in when Jasmine Lumpkin got her second foul.

The Ags had trouble with BYU's D and seemed to be out of sorts after the easy win vs Hawai'i. A&M had 6 turnovers in the opening quarter including 2 shot clock violations where the team seemed to be unaware of the time remaining on the clock.

17-12 at the end of the first.

Second Quarter

To start the second quarter Blair went with Curtyce Knox, Hillsman, CWill, CWalk, and Jennings. After Hillsman got burned giving up an offensive board and a foul to a shorter player, Blair went to a smaller lineup replacing Hillsman with Lumpkin.

The Ags went to a press and turned BYU over to cut the lead to 21-19. A nice offensive board and putback by Lumpkin tied the score at 21.  Shlonte Allen came in for Knox. CWill got called for her third foul and was replaced by Danni WIlliams. Lumpkin was playing really well when she was called for a third foul. Howard came in to replace Jasmine.

Danni gave the Ags their first lead with a long 3-pointer from the right side with 2:27 left. The teams traded the lead. Jennings gave the Ags a 2 point lead on the FT from a 3 point play. Rydalch tied it back up a 31. Pulcipher got a 3 to regain the lead. The Ags turned it over on the next possession allowing BYU to run the clock down for a final shot but the Ags were able to deny the opportunity.

Halftime score BYU 34, Ags 31.

Rydalch led all scorers with 11, while Pulsipher used a hot start to follow with 9. Chelsea Jennings led the Ags off the bench with 8, followed by Walker with 6. The Ags wound up shooting a higher % than BYU for the half (48.3% to 41.4%), despite starting out in the 30s while BYU started shooting above 50%. Both teams took 29 shots in the half but BYU was 3-6 on 3 pointers while the Ags only had the 1 from Danni. BYU had a 5 point edge from the FT line, even though the Ags only committed 1 more foul. CWill and Lumpkin were in foul trouble with 3 each.

Third Quarter

It was striking that Knox and Allen played the entire 2nd quarter at the point. At Blair talked about being lucky to be as close as we were. Knox started the second half at the point. The Ags started playing poorly on D and BYU stretched the lead to 10 at 43-33. Blair called timeout with 7:17 to go in the quarter. Mitchell replaced Hillsman before the timeout.

Jones came back in with 4:54 to go and the Ags down 8. JJ drew a charge soon after entering the game. The Ags attacked the basket to get the lead down to 7, but had problems when BYU was able to break the pressure. CWill drew her 4th foul with 2:36 left in the quarter. The Ags went with a lineup with Jones and Knox both in the lineup. The Ags got it back to 6 by the end of the period.

52-46 BYU end of 3

Fourth Quarter

The Ags started the final frame with Mitchell, Howard, Walker, Knox, and Jones. Jennings replaced Jones after BYU's first possession where Rydalch made it a 9 point lead again. A wide open back door let BYU make it an 11 point lead at 57-46.

Blair brought CWill and Lumpkin back in to replace Howard and Mitchell. Pulsipher hit a 3 to make it a 10 point lead as the shot clock wound down. JJ answered with a 3 on the other end. Allen subbed for Walker. Jones got called for a technical foul, but Rydalch missed the FTs. The Ags stole the ball and CWill cut into the lead again. It was 62-57 when there was a timeout.

Out of the timeout the Ags stole the ball and Jennings cut it to 62-59. Jones tied up the ball to get possession and Jennings hit a long J to cut the lead to 62-61. After Maeda converted 1 of 2 FTs JJ tried to go to the hole but got called for a foul on the offensive rebound. With the earlier technical, this meant Jones fouled out and was replaced by Knox.

It was 64-62 when CWill fouled out trying to take a charge. MItchell came in to replace CWill.

Timeout A&M with 1:32 left and BYU up 66-62. The Ags had a chance to cut the lead but a bad pass from Knox led to a layup for BYU. The Ags were forced to foul. Lumpkin fouled out. Unfortunately we had to foul Rydalch, who hit both to make it 70-62. Blair brought in Danni and Taylor Cooper.

Final Score: BYU 72, A&M 64


Credit has to be given to BYU, who played very well. But I had a sense that they didn't get A&M's best effort. It was a disappointing performance by the Ags, who nevertheless fought back several times and were within a point with about 3 minutes to go. From the halftime comments from Coach Blair and the postgame remarks on the radio from Assistant Coach Amy Wright, it seemed like the staff was unhappy with how the senior leaders handled adversity in this game. The focus of that had to be Jones, partly because the point guard in Blair's system is so critical, but also because there was clearly something going on in sitting her for all of the second and most of the third quarters and also at the end after her 4th foul. JJ seemed overly wound up from the start of the game. She channeled that productively for part of the 4th quarter - JJ's stat line is actually not bad: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and just 1 turnover.  But she wasn't running the offense the way we're used to seeing. The technical was a symptom of losing control of her frustration, and on the video it seemed like she was in danger of adding further damage by getting a second T. So she ended up playing only 22 minutes for the wrong reasons. The second quarter benching was not due to foul trouble; Jones' first foul was committed with 6 seconds to go in the 3rd.

But it was also a below-average performance for the other All-Americans:

  • Courtney Williams finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 turnovers. That broke her string of 17 consecutive double digit scoring games. BYU clearly focused on shutting her down, and their defenders did a good job overall.
  • Courtney Walker had just 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 turnovers. There were moments when Walker kept the Ags in the game, but overall she was also contained by the Cougars.
In the post-game, Coach Wright talked about how much the players care about winning and how that passion can be both a good and a bad thing. That sounds right to me.

Other stats and observations
  • The Cougars were led by their All-American, Lexi Rydalch, who finished with 28 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Two other Cougars finished in double figures in scoring: Kalani Purcell had 12 (combining with 10 rebounds for her second straight double-double), and Makenzi Pulsipher had 16. Pusipher was especially hot in building the early lead. She had 6 points before the first timeout. She also hit the 3 that gave BYU the halftime lead after the Ags had clawed back to 31-31.
  • 19 turnovers by the Ags. Only 6 on BYU steals. The rest were a mix of offensive fouls, traveling, and other ugliness I've blocked out.
  • The refs called a total of 34 personal fouls; 20 on the Ags against 14 on BYU. It seemed at times like what our friends at Rocky Top Talk call a refshow in a game that didn't look that physical. It seemed like there were a lot of calls on minor contract far from the basket. The Ags clearly were more visibly frustrated by the calls than the Cougars.
  • The two comebacks in the second and fourth quarters were helped by energetic play by several players. Jasmine Lumpkin played hard but got into foul trouble. Chelsea Jennings had a career high 17 points to go with 5 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a blocked shot. Rachel Mitchell had some nice moments, finishing with 6 points, 5 boards, and a steal.

Up Next

  • SMU
  • 11AM Monday December 7, 2015
  • Reed Arena
  • TV: SEC Network. Radio: KZNE 1150 AM/102.7 FM
The late morning time is for Elementary school day. About 4,000 local school kids will rock Reed Arena. This is always a hard game for regular ticket holders to get to, due to being in the middle of a work day. But if you can make it, it's fun Thanks to my building being close to Reed, I'm hoping to treat it as an extended lunch break, before a prelim exam later in the day.

The Mustangs are 3-4 overall. This will be their second road game of the season, with the other being a Dec 1 game in far-off Denton. So they shouldn't have the travel fatigue that is likely to be hitting the Ags (Both Courtneys admitted that they hate flying last week).

Coach Rhonda Rompola has a team with a lot of transfers and international players. A lot of this roster gave us trouble at their place last season, where the Ags won but only by 70-62. SMU has 4 players averaging double digits in scoring. Like BYU their assists are pretty evenly distributed. Likely starters:

  • #02 5-9 RS-So-TR McKenzie Adams (12.9 ppg). Adams is a transfer from Arkansas who played against the Ags in 2014. That was the game where Jones got a triple-double.
  • #10 6-3 So F Alicia Froling (13.9 ppg). Alicia's twin sister Keely is also on the roster, but may be out with injuries since she is not showing up in the stats. Alicia and Keely are two of the three Aussie's on SMU's team. Alicia had a double double against the Ags last season and led the Mustangs in scoring last year. She leads them in both scoring and rebounding this year.
  • #15 6-5 So F Stephanie Collins (10.7 ppg). Collins is the third Aussie at SMU. She's blocked 22 shots in 7 games.
  • #12 5-6 Jr G Morgan Bolton (6.6 ppg) was with SMU last season after transferring from Arkansas-Little Rock
  • #33 5-10 Jr G Ashley Gibson (10.2 ppg). Gibson is a JC transfer who led Butler Community College last year with 19.6 ppg. She's from Edmond, Oklahoma, so maybe Walker knows her.
The Mustangs have some height. They're averaging 67.4 ppg and giving up 61.3. They turn the ball over a lot, averaging 19.7 turnovers/game.