Coming off a hard fought loss at Mississippi State, the women returned to Reed to host a Florida team that was playing much better since the first meeting in Gainesville. After starting SEC play with 6 straight losses, Florida had drubbed Georgia and Vandy around a 9 point loss to Tennessee. Last Sunday’s win against Vandy saw Ronnie Williams get an emphatic double-double: 43 points and 14 rebounds.
Both teams adjusted their starting lineups from the previous meeting on January 15. Coach Blair called on Taylor Cooper to take Jasmine Lumpkin’s spot, while Coach Amanda Butler replaced 6-2 Jr Brooke Copeland with 5-10 Fr Sydney Morang. Morang had come off the bench in Gainesville and played more minutes than Copeland (19 to 18).
The Ags had a defensive breakdown allowing the Gators an easy bucket off the opening tip. The two teams each seemed to have a clear mandate on D. For the Ags it was to take away Ronnie Williams, while Florida wanted to collapse on Khaalia. Both teams used 2-3 zones with defenders collapsing to help. This gave opportunities for Delecia Washington for the Gators, while Curtyce was able to drive to the bucket with the Florida D focusing on taking away Khaalia and Danni. Coach Blair has been careful about managing Anriel’s fouls, so Lumpkin got into the game about halfway into the first quarter when Howard got her first foul.
After Curtyce loosened the D, Khaalia was able to get going. The entry passes were often a bit off and Khaalia missed some layups she later said she should have made. But she was able to get offensive boards and draw fouls.
The end of the first quarter was odd. With 7 seconds to go and the Ags up 23-20, Coach Blair put Walnatia Wright in for Khaalia and had the Ags put on full court pressure. But the Gators broke the press for a fast break layup with 1 second remaining.
23-22 Ags after 1.
Anriel was back in to start the second quarter and contributed right away to a 7-0 run. Howard had two layups around a 3 pointer by Cooper. Sensing a dangerous run, Butler called a timeout and the Gators regrouped. Florida used 3 pointers and aggressive rebounding to reel that Ags back in, and a Washington layup with just under a minute to go in the half tied the game a 39. After both teams got stops, Danni got a defensive board with 8 seconds to go in the half and ran out to take a long running buzzer beater. Dyandria Anderson fouled Danni, and after video review DWill, who was 0-5 from the field went to the FT line for 3 shots. She made all 3.
Ags 42, Gators 39 at halftime.
Washington led all scorers at half with 14. Despite being the focus of the defense, Khaalia had 11 by halftime to go with 8 rebounds. Cooper and DWill each had 7; Curtyce had 6 points to go with 6 assists. R. Williams had been held to 11 minutes of floor time thanks to 2 fouls, limiting her to just 4 points. Florida’s scrappiness was reflected in the teams being tied in rebounds at 17. The Gators had 6 offensive boards.
Florida scored first to cut the lead to 1, but then the Ags took control of the game. Florida kept scoring at critical time to stay within striking range, but after a 3 pointer by Haley Lorenzen cut what was once a 6 point lead to 51-49 at 6:14, the Ags went on a an 11-0 run over the next 3 minutes. Unlike the second quarter a Butler timeout failed to stop the bleeding. Danni started hitting from the floor, and the Ags started getting second and third chance opportunities, but the biggest play of the run came after the timeout when Curtyce cut off Ronni Williams attempt to drive across the top of the key and sent the Florida star to the bench with her third foul.
A&M went up by 14 with 1:55 remaining on a jumper by Danni. With 36 seconds to go, Tyshara Fleming intercepted a lob in the paint to Khaalia. Washington converted it into a fast break by pushing through the Ag defenders and drawing a blocking foul on Curtyce that had the crowd and A&M bench jeering. Washington got a generous continuation and her FT cut the A&M lead to 11 (On replay, both parts of the call were defensible).
Ags 66, Florida 55 after the 3rd quarter
A 3 pointer by Cooper restored the 14 point margin early in the final period, but Florida refused to quit. They whittled away at the lead but the Ags would answer each time. A 9-0 run got the Gators to within 5 at 69-64 with 6:36 left as Ronni Williams made an athletic putback. Curtyce made a great entry to Anriel in the paint. Khaalia blocked Williams on one possession and Anriel intercepted a pass to keep Florida at bay. Cooper hit another 3 at the 4:40 mark to get the lead back to 10 and Butler called timeout.
Florida came back again, Getting to with 5 with 2:23 remaining at 76-71 on a 3 pointer from the right corner by Morang. The Ags ran the clock down and Danni penetrated the right side to draw a foul. 2 FTs extended the lead to 78-71. Another Morang 3 ball, this time from the left corner, made it 78-74 with 1:38 left. Blair called a timeout after the ball came into the frontcourt.
The Ags weren’t able to score and Ronnie Williams pushed the ball up the court. It looked like Taylor Cooper was set to draw a charge, but the refs called a blocking foul. Williams missed both FTs and Anriel got a key rebound, allowing A&M to run the clock down before Curtyce drove the lane to draw a foul. 2 FTs made it 80-74 with 37 seconds left. Hillsman cut off a drive by Washington, got the rebound and a timeout advanced the ball to the front court with 30.1 seconds left in the game.
Coming out of the timeout it was a 2 possession game. Blair and Amy Wright called a brilliant inbounds play. Taylor took the ball on the sideline in front of the A&M bench. Curtyce and Anriel set up in the back court as if the pass would go there to run clock. Khaalia set a pick for Danni running away from the basket, and then rolled to the hoop. Taylor hit her for a wide open layup, giving A&M an 8 point lead. That was really the ball game, although the Ags added some FTs and gave up a late layup to Washington.
Final Score: Ags win 84-76
- Florida had apparently given the Ags some bulletin board material by predicting to their student newspaper that they could dominate the paint. While points in the paint ended up dead even at 36 each, the Ags really turned up the rebounding in the second half. After being even in boards in the first half, A&M outrebounded Florida 27-11. The Ags had more second half offensive boards (14) than Florida had on both ends after the break.
- Aggressive play was reflected in the advantage the Ag got from the FT line. A&M was 23/27 from the charity stripe (85.2%), while Florida was only 4/8. Danni (9/9) and Khaalia (8-10) each shot more FTs than Florida did as a team.
- All 5 A&M starters were in double digits for points, and 3 had double-doubles. Khaalia had 24 points and 18 rebounds. Anriel had 13 points and 10 boards. Curtyce had 10 points and 13 assists.
- Despite her 24/18 performance, with a block and only 2 turnovers, Khaalia talked in the postgame about it not being one of her better offensive performances, based on having to take 15 shots to make 8 FGs. Khaalia thought she should have given Curtyce a higher assist total.
- Even with Khaalia’s missed bunnies, 13 assists for Curtyce improves on her NCAA leading assist totals. It’s remarkable that despite only having this season as the starting PG, Knox has moved into 9th place in all time career assists for A&M WBB with 391. For a single seaon she’s in 5th with 210 so far. Jordan Jones holds the record with 261 in 2013-14.
- Taylor and Danni each had 16 points. Cooper’s performance was the first thing Coach Blair wanted to talk about in the post-game. Her 4 3 pointers came at opportune times, and the threat of her bombs were important to open the game up for Khaalia while Danni struggled from the field (3/13).
- Delicia Washington led all scorers with 25 points. Morang and Lorenzen had 12 and 11 points, respectively. Coach Butler spoke in the post-game about A&M frustrating her Williams, holding her to 9 points. She still led the Gators in rebounding with 9.
- The win puts A&M in a 3 way tie with Mizzou and Tennessee for 3rd in the SEC, 2.5 games behind S. Carolina and 2 behind Miss State.
- Auburn Tigers
- Sunday Feb 5, 2017 at 1PM CST
- Reed Arena
- TV: SEC Network. Radio 1550AM (1150AM will be doing Super Bowl pregame stuff)
Terri Williams-Flournoy (aka Coach Flo) made the NCAA tourney last season and her Tigers were briefly ranked after a 6-1 start. After getting crushed by Miss State on Thursday night, they’re 5-4 in SEC play and have lost 3 of their last 4. But to see how dangerous they can be, just look back to Jan 19, when they hosted Tennessee. The Lady Vols were coming off a big upset win over Notre Dame, and went up 14-0 to start the game. Auburn used their pressure D to get 22 turnovers and ran it down Tennessee’s throat starting in the second quarter. They outscored the Lady Vols 28-11 in the second quarter to take the halftime lead, and followed that up with a 21-6 third quarter.
Even in what turned into a 30 point loss, the Tigers pressure rattled the stronger and deeper Bulldogs in the middle of the game.
"Their press, to me, is at an all-time frenzy," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. "That's the only way to describe it. As hard as they play, you've got to attack pressure with pressure. I think when we made that run, we finally started attacking pressure with pressure."
- #13 6-1 Sr G/F Katie Frerking (16.1 ppg 6.3 rpg) leads the team in points, rebounds, and steals. She’s second in assists.
- #10 5-10 Sr G Brandy Montgomery (14.7 ppg) is the shooting guard.
- #33 5-6 So G Janiah McKay (13.3 ppg) is the point guard. She took over the starting PG position as a freshman.
- #15 6-2 Jr F Jazmine Jones (5 ppg/4.3 rpg) is the twin sister of Jessica Jones, who also starts.
- #23 6-2 Jr F Jessica Jones 4 (ppg/5.1 rpg) is more of a shot blocker than her twin sister and has fouled out more often.
Sure, it’s Super Bowl Sunday. But there should be plenty of time to come to Reed as a pregame activity.