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WBB: Ags move into second place in the SEC

The #12 Women's Bouncy Ball team took care of business in Oxford by handling Ole Miss 62-48.

Curtyce Knox helped Coach Blair get into 13th place among all time wins for D1 WBB coaches
Curtyce Knox helped Coach Blair get into 13th place among all time wins for D1 WBB coaches
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Jones was dressed, but hadn't practiced all week.

First quarter

Because JJ wasn't ready to go, Coach Blair started with Curtyce Knox, Courtney Walker, Courtney Williams, Anriel Howard and Khaalia Hillsman. Ole Miss decided to play bigger than usual and bring leading scorer Shandricka Sessoms off the bench. Both teams started slowly. Sessom came in at 5:52 with the Ags up 7-2. The Ags pushed it to 11-2 on a fast break to CWill and Coach Matt Insell called timeout.

Ole Miss was stuck at 2 until Bretta Hart hit 1 of 2 FTs with 2:44 to go. They got their second FG with 1:48 left in the quarter.

17-7 A&M at the end of the first. The Ags shot 5-11 45% Ole MIss was 3-20 with the help of 8 offensive boards.

Second quarter

Jennings drew Sessom's second foul on the first play of the 2nd quarter, sending the leading scorer back to the bench. Coach Blair got some minutes for a lot of players as the Ags stretched the lead to 23-7 before another Ole MIss timeout. The Rebels went on a bit of a run after the timeout to cut the lead to 23-12. Blair called a timeout.

A'Queen Hayes had a chance to get the lead down to 10 on an and one play but missed the FT. CWill stretched the lead back to 13. A late turnover by Walker let Ole Miss get to 11.

27-16 at halftime.

Walker and Williams each had 7 points to lead the scoring. Khaalia added 4 points, 3 boards and 3 blocked shots. Coach Blair looked unhappy as the teams left the court, presumably due to a combination of 10 turnovers and not being patient enough at the end of the half. For Ole Miss, Bretta Hart finished the half with 3 fouls, while Hayes and Sessom each had 2.

Third quarter

The Rebels scored first, but then the Ags pulled out to 35-18 lead before Sessom scored on a pair of FTs and a FG. It was 35-22 with just over 5 minutes remaining in the quarter when Knox got hit in the face. Curtyce showed she was OK by getting a great assist to Khaalia on the next play. It was 37-22 at the media timeout with 3:54 to go in the quarter.

Khaalia drew a 4th foul on Sessom, which limited Ole Miss' offensive options even further.

With 38 seconds left in the quarter, Shlonte blocked a 3 pointer, got the blocked shot and ran out for a fast break, finishing with a bounce pass to Anriel.

45-28 Ags.

Fourth quarter

Blair went with the bench to start the 4th, but sent the veterans back in when the backups got a little out of control. Sessoms was able to hit a 3 at 7:15, and Ole Miss called a timeout. Ole Miss took advantage of an Aggie scoring drought to cut the lead to 12. The Ags seemed to have lost interest a bit as they were giving up drives down the lane. Jennings made it 14 at 51-37 and Blair called a timeout with 4:35 remaining. Rachel set a great pick for CWill, who got the lead back up to 53-37. That also gave CWill a double double.

Curtyce made a move into the lane to foul out Hayes. Danni got into the scoring column on an inbounds play. Sessom fouled out with 1:45 to go. Ole Miss looked like they might cut it to 10, but Muhammad stepped on the line before draining a 3. Ole Miss continued to fight. and got the score to 60-48 after Walker traveled on an inbounds play. Ole Miss fouled Danni with 14.3 second left and the freshman got the final points on a pair of FTs.

62-48 Ags.

Overall

It's a win. It wasn't pretty despite winning by double digits on the road.

  • The two Courtneys led the Ags again. CWill had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Walker had a quiet game by her standards with 11 points on 3-8 shooting. CWalk was a perfect 5-5 from the FT line to improve her lead as the SEC's best FT shooter .863 to .844 for Miss State's Morgan William (Chelsea Jennings is shooting a higher %, but at 51 attempts in 25 games, she's 24 attempts short of qualifying for the conference stats).
  • The Ags played a fair amount of zone D again. Khaalia tied her career high in blocked shots with 5.
  • Although the Ags committed 20 turnovers, PG Curtyce Knox had a solid night, getting 5 assists and only 2 turnovers. She added 4 points, 2 steals, and 6 rebounds in 33 minutes. Shlonte Allen was shakier, with only 4 points, 1 assist and 3 turnovers in just 7 minutes. But the play at the end that led to her one assist was impressive.
  • CWill and Anriel tied for the lead in rebounding with 11 each. Ole Miss outrebounded the Ags 39-38 and got 20 offensive boards. This was helped by how badly they clanged a lot of misses on the way to shooting 16/71 for the game, but blocking out was not a strong point. The 20 turnovers and 20 offensive boards were the main factors in making the game ugly for A&M.
  • Ole Miss was led by Sessom's 13 points despite being in foul trouble for most of the game and eventually fouling out. Sessom was 5/14 (1/4 from 3) with 2 FTs. Erika Sisk and A'Queen Hayes were also in double figures in scoring with 11 and 10, respectively. Hayes also fouled out.
  • The win gave Gary Blair 713 wins, which puts him alone in 13th on the all time wins list in Div-1 WBB. He's now 8th among active coaches, after UNC's Sylvia Hatchell, Stanford's Tara Vanderveer, Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer, UConn's Geno Auriemma, Montana's Robin Selvig, Chattanooga's Jim Foster, and Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw.
  • With S. Carolina beating Tennessee while the Ags were playing Ole Miss, the Ags have been mathematically eliminated from contention for the SEC regular season crown (Technically SC could lose their last 4 and tie with the Ags and/or Miss State in W/L, but they have scoreboard on both). Auburn upset #16 Florida on Sunday, allowing the Ags to pass the Gators in the SEC standings, and win at Ole Miss put A&M in second place with 4 games remaining, split evenly between home and away. We are tied with Miss State at 8-4 in conference, but have the tiebreaker from the win last Thursday. Auburn is a surprise a half game back in 4th, followed by Florida, Georgia, and Mizzou. Tennessee and Kentucky, expected to contend in the preseason, are now at .500 in conference and are tied for 8th!

Up next

  • LSU on BTHO Breast Cancer Night
  • 8 PM February 18, 2016
  • Reed Arena
  • TV: SEC Network; Radio KZNE 1150AM/102.7 FM

Since we last met, things have gotten even worse for the Tigers in terms of available personnel. Already down due to injuries, they have been without Jenna Deemer, who was the leading scorer before our first meeting, for 8 games due to an illness. Constance Quinn was brought onto the team from midseason walk-on tryouts, but seems to have disappeared, presumably because her main sport, softball, has started back up. This has contributed to losing 8 out of 9, with a road win at Georgia the only bright spot. Georgia avenged that loss on Sunday.

The game at Reed markes the start of a stretch run for LSU that has them play four ranked teams to finish the regular season. After the Ags, the Bayou Bengals host Tennessee and Florida. Then they go to S. Carolina for the final game. LSU does have a tiebreaker with Ole Miss.

BTHO LSU and Breast Cancer!