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WBB: Ags advance vs ULaLa

Ags pull away in the second half

Anriel on Nekia Jones
Anriel Howard pressures an inbound by Nekia Jones
jimhu’s iPhone

The Women’s Bouncy Ball team hosted Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday afternoon in round 2 of the preseason WNIT. The Raging Cajuns held on to beat the Univ. of New Orleans on Friday night, while the Ags opened the tourney by regrouping to win against Houston. Assistant Coach Bob Starkey had spoken of Louisiana as a team that plays small ball like Houston, and that used pressure defense.

The Ags came out with what should be a pretty stable starting lineup for this season: Seniors Khaalia Hillsman and Jasmine Lumpkin at the post and the 3, Juniors Anriel Howard and Danni Williams at the 4 and the 2, and Freshman Chennedy Carter taking over the point. Louisiana countered with Goodwin, Howard, Swain, Fields and Myles. The Cajuns played to deny the ball to Khaalia, packing the paint except to come out on Danni.

After trading a couple of baskets, Simone Fields committed a foul and was replaced by 5-11 Senior Nekia Jones, who transferred from Texas after the 2014-15 season. Jones is a wide body who has the moves and range of point guard. She had caught my attention at the end of the pregame warmups by hitting a half-court shot as the team ran to the locker room. She made her presence felt quickly with an assist and a couple of 3 pointers. She forced several players to foul her off of crossover dribble moves from the top of the key. The Cajuns would build a 7 point lead by the end of the quarter as the Ags were stuck on 12 after Carter converted a fast break with 3:43 left in the quarter.

ULaLa would go up by 8 before the Ags started their comeback. Williams and Lumpkin combined to cut the lead to 3 with7:53 left in the half. But the play remained sloppy and the crowd was in the kind of restless mode where we yell at the refs more than we're cheering for the team (The refs weren't great, but they weren't the main problem). Around the middle of the second quarter, Blair brought in Lulu McKinney and moved Carter to the 2 and Danni to the 3. Down 23-18, Lulu hit a 3 that started a 7-0 run to give the Ags the lead. The Cajuns would tie it up a couple of times, but would never lead again. The first half ended with Anriel Howard hitting her second 3 pointer of the young season.

At halftime, the coaches told the team: you played badly but you're up 3.

The Ags started the second half by getting the ball to Hillsman for a layup. The Cajuns answered and cut the lead to 2 after a Danni mid-range jumper was followed by a 3 pointer from Troi Swain. After Carter missed a layup and turned the ball over after Anriel's offensive board, Blair brought McKinney in for Carter with 6:56 to go in the 3rd. Right away, Lulu assisted a 3 by Danni and got one of her own on a fast break. Kayla Wells came in for Lumpkin and got a 3 point play off a fast break - drawing a foul on Jones in the process. That made the lead 10. For much of the 3rd quarter, Carter had been on the bench and McKinney's defense and point play had steadied the team. But Carter showed why she's so promising by coming back at the end of the quarter and getting a pair of highlight layups to make it an 18 point lead going into the 4th.

Coach used the bench liberally in the final period. Carter scored 9 in the 4th to end up leading the team in scoring.

Carter led the team with 18, but Anriel Howard's 17 were more when the game was undecided. Danni added 15, Khaalia 11. Anriel and Khaalia both had double-doubles for the second game in a row wit 14 and 11 rebounds, respectively.

"Lulu McKinney was the story of the game. She changed the atmosphere. Lulu is not that quick, but she goes hard, and she can follow a game plan. We were running our stuff pretty good in the second quarter, so I left her in the third quarter." - Coach Blair

Up Next

  • #11 Oregon Ducks
  • Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 7PM CST
  • Preseason WNIT Semifinals
  • Reed Arena
  • Faculty/Staff appreciation night (discounted tix)
  • Streaming: SECN+ Radio 1150AM/102.7FM

The preseason WNIT semis aren't quite set, but we know who's on our side of the bracket. Oregon won easily over Drake on Sunday leading wire to wire for a final score of 110-77. On the other side, Louisville and Toledo face off on Tuesday, as the Cardinal interrupted their WNIT quest to beat Ohio State in OT in a very entertaining game that I caught the end of after getting back from Reed.

The #11 Ducks are going to be a major step up in the quality of competition faced by the Ags. The Ducks return all of the starters from a young team that made it to the Elite 8 last year. Oregon was only 8-10 in the Pac as their young players took a while to hit their stride in a strong conference. They upset Washington in the Pac tourney before losing to Stanford. Their late improvement and overall 20-13 pre-tourney record got the Ducks into the NCAAs as a 10 seed. They proceeded to upset Temple, Duke, and Maryland before running into UConn.

  • #20 5-10 So G Sabrina Ionescu was ESPNW's freshman of the year. Coming out of High School as a McDonalds All-American she averaged 14.3 points 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. She had four triple-doubles as a freshman and added another in Sunday's win, where she had 29 points, 10 boards and 11 assists.
  • #24 6-4 So F Ruthy Hebard averaged 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. This past summer she was a teammate of Chennedy Carter's on the U19 team that got a silver medal. She had a double double (10 pt 11 reb) vs Drake.
  • #5 5-10 Jr G Maite Cazorla averaged 8.1 ppg last year. She played on the Spanish U19 national team in 2014.
  • #10 5-9 Sr G Lexi Bando was All Pac-12 honorable mention. She was third in the NCAA in 3 pt %.
  • #44 6-5 So F Mallory McGwire is listed as a forward but plays the post.

6-4 Freshman Satou Sabally is logging major minutes off the bench and is averaging 15.5 ppg so far. Oregon Coach Kelly Graves calls her "one of the most gifted and athletic players in the world." She was a 5 star in ESPN's rankings.