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WBB: Ags take round 1 in the preseason WNIT from UH 83-65

The women survived an ugly mid-game to pull away late

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Basketball Tournament- Tennessee vs Texas A&M
Khaalia Hillsman vs Tennessee last year.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

It was a busy Friday night for A&M athletics. As we took our seats in Reed Arena for the Women's Bouncy Baller's opening game of the season, we could hear streaming audio of the men's game vs West Virginia. Meanwhile, the crowds were gathering at Ellis Field to watch the Ags take on Lamar in the opening round of the NCAA women's soccer tourney.

Houston came in with former Aggie guard Jamila Ganter on the bench as an assistant for HC Ron Hughey. Ganter played for Blair and was a GA on the 2008 Elite Eight team. So maybe she remembers Gary's plays. The Cougars were undersized compared to the Ags but compensate by speeding up their opponents and forcing turnovers.

The Ags started strong, as it was clear that UH didn't have the size to play Khaalia HIllsman straight up. A&M was up 7-0 to start the game and 30-19 by the end of the first quarter. This was enough of a lead to allow Coach Blair to give some starters some rest in the second quarter and experiment with different lineups. Each team scored 18 in the second period but Houston went into the locker room looking like they had found some ways to stay with the Ags. Despite the 48-37 lead, Coach Starkey would say later that it seemed like the Cougars were the team that seemed more excited going into the intermission.

The third quarter was pretty bad. Dorian Branch opened the second half with a 3 to cut the lead to 8. Houston crowded the lane to challenge entry passes to Khaalia and the Ags settled for jump shots when they weren't turning it over. Both teams were turning it over, but UH was getting penetration off the dribble. The Cougars cut the lead to 6 by the middle of the quarter but the Ags stretched it out a bit. Then, with 2:23 remaining in the 3rd, another Branch bomb cut the lead to 5. The Ags finally got a layup for Hillsman, but Houston answered to make it a 5 point game with 33 seconds left in the 3rd. Two FTs from Khaalia made it 60-53 going into the final period.

Angela Harris drained a 3 to make it a 4 point game early in the 4th quarter and the crowd was getting restless. But Houston was running out of gas and the Ags started putting the game away in a series of plays where layups by UH guards were answered by 3s from Williams, and the Chennedy Carter, who had played unevenly up to that point, started taking the ball inside with authority and getting to the FT line. By the halfway point of the 4th, the lead was 14 points. A&M's last 11 points all came from the FT line.

Final score 83-65.

  • The Ags shot something like 77% from the field in the 1st quarter, but only 22.22% in the second half.
  • Danni Williams led all scorers with 21 points. She was 5-9 from 3 point range.
  • Khaalia Hillsman (19/11) and Anriel Howard (11/14) both had double-doubles.
  • Chennedy Carter had 15 points, 5 assists and 4 turnovers. She was 11/12 from the FT line.
  • 10 different players scored for A&M.
  • The Ags turned it over 18 times
  • 4 Cougars scored in double figures, led by Branch with 17 (4-5 from 3). Coach Blair said later that they were the better team off the dribble.
  • Khaalia Hillsman was named to the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List.

Up Next

  • Louisiana Ragin Cajuns in Round 2 of the preseason WNIT
  • Sunday Nov 12, 2017 at 2PM CST (Military Appreciation Day)
  • Reed Arena
  • Streaming: SECN+ Radio: 1150AM/102.7 FM

While the Ags were playing UH, Louisiana was hosting the Univ. of New Orleans. The Cajuns used a strong first half to win 66-57 while being outscored in the second half. Coach Starkey in the postgame talked about how ULaLa is similar to UH in their style of play. Likely starters:

  • #32 6-0 Sr F Simone Fields had 18 points and 9 boards vs UNO
  • #11 5-8 Fr G/F Skyler Goodwin had 13 points 5 rebounds and 2 steals. She was 3-4 on 3 pointers
  • #10 5-6 Sr G Troi Swain 9 pts
  • #0 5-6 Sr G Kendra Howard 7 pts
  • #35 6-2 So F Brittney Myles 3 pts/4 reb.

#42 5-10 RS-Fr G/F Danyale Bayonne played 26 minutes off the bench. The Cajuns turned the ball over 20 times in their win.