The #19 Women's Bouncy Ball team started an 8 day Left Coast road trip with a thriller at unbeaten but unranked USC.
USC scored first but the Ags took the lead early as USC was unable to keep Chennedy Carter from driving for layups. Carter would score the first 7 points for A&M, followed by a 3 pointer from Anriel Howard. Carter would score 15 points in the opening period where the Ags ended up with a 21-18 lead.
Jordan Adams 3 pointer tied the game early in the second period, but after Carter scored on a swipe and a fastbreak layup, USC's Aliyah Mazyck tied it and then took the lead for the Women of Troy at 25-24. Carter had to go to the bench with 2 fouls shortly after that, and the offense went cold. Blair put Carter back in after the 4:54 media timeout with USC leading 30-24. The Ags would clamp down on USC for the rest of the half but points were tough to get. Caylinne Martin got one in the paint to make it 30-26. Jasmine Lumpkin made one of two FTs to make it 30-27. With 49 seconds left Blair went to the bench. N'Dea Jones rewarded the substitution by blocking a shot, drawing a foul and sinking a pair of FTs.
USC led 30-29 at half. Carter had 18 points. Anriel had already grabbed 9 rebounds. But Khaalia was having trouble finishing against USC's Kristin Simon and Danni Williams was still in her shooting slump. Hillsman was 0-4 from the field and Williams was 0-7 (0-5 from 3). Scoring for USC was pretty balanced: Simon and Mazcyk each had 7. Sadie Edwards had 6, the other starters had 5.
The second half started the way it usually does, with the Ags going inside to Khaalia, who Coach Blair said at halftime was making things more complicated than they needed to be. Hillsman scored cleanly to take the lead. The game would go back and forth with 5 ties and 4 lead changes. Then, with under 90 seconds remaining and USC up 2, Anriel turned it over leading to a Mazcyk layup and a FT for a 3 point play. Carter turned it over leading to a fast break layup by Sadie Edwards. Suddenly it was a 7 point deficit. After a Blair timeout, the Ags converted an offensive rebound into a Carter jump shot to make it 50-45 going into the last quarter. That put Carter at 25 points for the game.
The fourth quarter opened with Danni getting a 3 point play on a jumper plus a FT. Carter would get to the line to cut the lead to 1 and then Danni retook the lead at 52-51 with 8:30 to go. From there until 4:50, when Danni got another J (assisted by Carter), Chennedy scored the next 10 points for A&M. 35 points. USC fought back and tied it at 66 with 2:33 left. Khaalia fouled out on that play. Carter drove the right side and was fouled. 2 FTs. Minyon Moore penetrated to tie it at 68 with 1:23 left. Carter got a 3 point play to answer. After a stop, Carter hit a J to give the Ags a 5 point lead with 30 seconds left. It only took 3 seconds after a timeout for USC to cut it to 2 on an Edwards 3 pointer.
Blair called his last timeout with 27 seconds to go to advance the ball to the front court. Danni took the ball for the inbounds pass and USC's D denied almost everything. Finally she passed to Anriel who got tied up in the corner near the halfcourt line. USC ball.
Then this happened:
It looked like a tremendous come from behind win for USC. But there were 20 seconds left. The Ags ran the clock to around 10 and then this happened.
"My assistant Jason Glover has NBA experience, and that last (defense we tried against) her, she faked it and spun off the screen and came off and he said, `that's an NBA move.' She just pulled a Chris Paul move," - USC Coach Mark Trakh
- Carter's 46 point performance shattered Danielle Adams' A&M single game scoring record of 40, set as a senior against Kansas in 2011. She also had 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
- Anriel Howard had 17 boards, which is a high for her for this season.
- Danni Williams finished with 11 points. After missing everything in the first half, she was 4-9 from the field in the second. She's not quite out of her shooting slump, as she still blanked from 3, but here's hoping that it's the beginning of the end.
- Overall the Ags outrebounded the Trojans 45-34. A&M lost the turnover battle, 12-8, but the rebounding edge meant A&M took just one less shot (66-65). A&M shot 16-24 from the FT line, while USC went 14-16.
- USC was led by Edwards with 20 points and Simon with 18. 4 out of 5 starters were in double figures, but they got no scoring from their bench.
The team is going to Disneyland before heading to Vegas for the Duel in the Desert against Hawaii and Oregon. The games will be played at UNLV's Cox Pavilion on Wed and Thursday. It appears that there is only paid streaming to watch the games.
Hawaii is 5-4 with a road game vs Arizona coming up Sunday before facing the Ags. The Rainbow Wahine have 7 players who have started at least one game. Starters for their last game vs Idaho State on 12/8:
- 35 6-2 So F Makenna Woodfolk leads in rebounding with 7.9 per game.
- 00 5-9 So G Julissa Tago scores 11.7 ppg. She's 12/30 from 3 point range.
- 05 5-11 Sr G Sarah Toeaina leads the team in scoring at 15.8 ppg and has started every game. She's the only starter who has not attempted a 3.
- 11 5-8 RS Jr G Tia Kanoa looks like the PG. She leads in assists by a wide margin and has started every game.
- 12 5-10 Jr G/F Leah Salanoa has started 8 out of 9 games. She's scoring 10.9 ppg and has the most 3 pointers.
A&M should win this game but it will be important to not let down or look ahead to Oregon.