Both Texas A&M and #4 Miss State had byes on Thursday. The Bulldogs got their first loss of the season on Monday at S. Carolina, with some late help from the refs, including a very questionable held ball call by Bryan Enterline, who was coming off a poor performance at Reed the day before in the Ags win vs LSU.
The Bulldogs broke out new gray unis. A&M came out switching between man and zone. D. Khaalia got the Ags the first bucket on a putback. Morgan William answered and MSU took the lead as the Ags had trouble scoring against the Bulldog D but MSU wasn’t faring much better vs the Ags. Morgan William went out with an injury after a collision with Curyce. It was 7-5 Bulldogs by the TV timeout at 4:20 in the first. By then A&M had 5 turnovers; MSU 3.
Curtyce stole the ball and tied it up and then Jasmine Lumpkin got a 3 point play to make it 10-7 A&M. At 14-12, Anriel had to go to the bench on a questionable moving pick call. But the Ags responded with a couple of 3s from Tyce and Danni.
20-15 Ags after 1.
MSU clawed back with 6-7 backup post Teaira McCowan giving the Dogs a big lift. Victoria Vivians gave Vic’s girls a 24-22 lead with a second chance 3 pointer with 6:36 remaining in the half. Foul trouble sent Khaalia to the bench, allowing McCowan even more room to work. Curtyce kept the Ags close with a 3 and a floater, but MSU kept going inside forcing Blair to call timeout with 3:01 left and Vic up 33-27. Khaalia came back in after the break. Jasmine committed her 3rd foul and Blair had to bring Anriel back with 2 fouls.
Miss State held the Ags to 9 points in the quarter and a Breanna Richardson’s first 3 pointer of the season gave Miss State their largest lead.
MSU 41, Ags 29 at half.
The 12 point lead was the difference in bench scoring, with McCowan accounting for 10 of the 12. MSU star Victoria Vivians also had 10 and Morgan William added 8. Curtyce led the Ags with 10. Danni had 8. Khaalia was held to 4.
MSU led off the scoring with a 3 pointer and stretched the lead to as many as 17 in the middle of the quarter. A&M had a mini rally and was able to keep pace overall, but not gain ground. Curtyce was the only Ag to score until 2:49 in the quarter.
55-43 Bulldogs after 3.
The Aggie D held MSU scoreless to start the final period. A&M struggled on offense as well, but was able to cut into the lead gradually. It cumulatively became a 10-0 run over the first 3 and a half minutes, forcing Vic to call a timeout.
Okorie broke the drought after the timeout with a hook in the paint. MSU went back up by 9 before the media timeout. Cooper hit an open J after the timeout but Roshunda Johnson answered with a 3 to restore a double digit lead. After committing a bad unforced 10 second violation, Curtyce hit a 3 to make it a 64-57 deficit when Blair used a timeout with 2 minutes remaining.
The Ags had to foul to extend the game, but with foul trouble on everyone else, Danni had to foul Morgan William. After Khaalia scored on a rare inside opportunity, Danni fouled Richardson. As the game wound down MSU hit their FTs and the Ags couldn’t mount one last run.
Final Score: MSU 71 Ags 61
Going into this game, I think everyone knew it would be a big upset to knock off MSU at home. They’re a likely 1 seed for a reason and have an argument that they should be undefeated without some home cooking for S. Carolina last Monday night. That the Ags outplayed MSU for two quarters and broke even in the third was a remarkable performance in a loss. But that second quarter where MSU outscored A&M 26-9 outweighed the other 3.
- Curtyce Knox led the ags with 20 points. Her 7 assists were below her NCAA leading season average of 9.5, but that was still impressive given how well MSU defended Khaalia. Tyce looked tired at times, as playing 40 minutes against Coach Vic’s press is very different from playing 40 against other opponents, and her 10 second violation probably reflected that. But she dug deep and was able to keep working hard to the end.
- Danni Williams started hot, was shut down with the rest of the Ags in the second quarter, but came back to finish with 15. Danni has scored in double figures in 20 out of 21 games this season. Anriel Howard got 10 boards and 8 points despite being limited to 27 minutes due to foul trouble. Khaalia Hillsman had 10 points to continue her streak of double digit scoring in every game.
- Victoria Vivians led MSU with 18, but oddly was on the bench for key parts of the 4th quarter. Morgan William and Teaira McCowan each had 10 points with McCowan’s scoring all coming in the first half. Afterward Coach Vic said that he needs to get her the ball more, but she only played 4 minutes of the second half.
- Florida Lady Gators
- Thursday Feb 2, 2017 7PM CST
- Reed Arena
- Streaming: SECN+ Radio: 1150AM/102.7 FM
The Ags return to Reed for a rematch with Florida after beating the Gators on the road on Jan 15. Since then, the Gators got their first SEC win against Georgia, lost to Tennessee, and on Sunday they handily won at Vanderbilt. Ronni Williams has retaken the SEC scoring lead from our Danni Williams, and the 43 points she poured in against the Commodores was a career high and the 3rd best performance in Gator history.