To get a sense of what TAMU-CC was up against in terms of talent differential, Coach Blair opened his postgame statement with this:
It was a good game to play a lot of people. When you play a lot of people you're going to have some turnovers; you're going to have some missed assignments. I liked how the team responded at half time because we were not moving very well in the first half.
That’s after the Ags led by 14 with just under 2 minutes left in the first quarter. Now, the team did let the Islanders outscore them from there until the intermission, since the halftime lead was only 13. But by that time, Coach had already gotten minutes from everyone on the bench except walk-on Alyssa Michalke.
Nevertheless, Coach was correct that the team could play better. Taylor Cooper got the second half start in place of Jasmine Lumpkin. The second half didn’t start especially well when Khaalia Hillsman picked up her third and fourth fouls on some not so smart plays less than a minute into the 3rd quarter. She reached from a terrible angle far from the bucket for her third and then committed a foul on the subsequent inbounds play. But the smaller lineup stretched the lead to 21.
There was a bit of a scare when Anriel Howard went down at 7:27 in the third and had to go to the locker room. She got inadvertently kicked after she went to the floor after drawing a blocking foul in the paint. She had a visible bruise under her eye in the post-game interviews. But she was able to return with a big smile before the quarter was over.
Overall, Blair was able to run more full court pressure than usual and force Corpus into turnovers. A lot of turnovers. The Islanders already had 14 turnovers on 8 A&M steals at halftime. After the intermission the Ags got another 12 swipes among 16 turnovers. There were a lot of deflections, held balls, and players hitting the floor going for loose balls.
Final score 84-55.
- Anriel led the team in scoring with a career high 20 points. It was another double-double as she had 10 rebounds, which should keep her in second place in the NCAA for rebounds/game. Her 5 assists and 5 steals were also career highs.
- Danni Williams had 18 points. She’s been in double figures in every game so far.
- Curtyce Knox is leading the NCAA in assists/game and added 9 more. She had 4 steals and 6 points.
- Despite limited playing time due to foul trouble Khaalia Hillsman had 12 points to join Danni as the Ags who have hit double figures in every game.
- Everyone on the roster played,. Rakell Spencer got her first points as an Ag in the second quarter. She finished with 4 points and blocked two shots. When Alyssa Michalke got everyone in the scoring column when she drew a foul rebounding a missed FT by Corpus’ Tiara Matthews. Alyssa added to her totals by drawing another foul driving the left side of the lane with 16.7 to go. Her 3 for 4 shooting from the line gave her a career high.
- Brittany Mbalalu led all scorers with 21 points. I hadn’t noticed her in the Islanders season stats because she had missed a bunch of games with a broken foot and is just coming back, according to Corpus Coach Royce Chadwick. She got her 21 on 5 3-pointers and going 6-6 on free throws.
The Ags have a week off for finals and then play in Houston on their way out of town for a tourney in Florida.
- Southern University Lady Jaguars
- 2:30PM CST Saturday Dec 17, 2016
- Campbell Center, Houston, TX
- No TV or streaming. 1150AM/102.7FM
Southern is 2-3 with a game on Monday before playing A&M, but their record could be misleading. Their losses were all road games vs Michigan State (currently 9-2), #9 UCLA, and #12 Ohio State. Against the Buckeyes, they scored 73.
From Houston the Ags will go to the Florida Sunshine Classic, where they will get a severe test from Dayton and #20 Syracuse.