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Texas A&M A&M WBB falls to UGA in OT

Carter puts up a 3
jimhu’s iPhone

The Women’s Bouncy Ball team welcomed a bunch of former players to Reed for Legacy Day on Sunday. Although Sydney Colson couldn’t make it because she was playing in Israel, Colson’s family showed up and the early arrivals got a Sydney Colson bobble-head.

Georgia came in with a strong W/L record but uncertainty about just how good they are. Unfortunately, the answer came at A&M’s expense on Sunday. We had arrived early to get the bobblehead, and watching Georgia’s pregame prep it was really obvious how hard they were working on practicing 3 pointers off of feeds that simulated game situations. The game started well as the Ags scored first and Khaalia Hillsman blocked a Haley Clark layup. But the first quarter turned into a nightmare was Georgia’s D disrupted the Ags by blocking several shots inside. The paint protection from Mackenzie Engram and especially Caliya Robinson meant the perimeter players didn’t have to help inside. This allowed a tag team of small, quick guards to stick to Danni Williams like glue throughout the game. Chennedy Carter’s scoring was limited by having to go to the bench with 2 fouls with 4:49 im the first period. Meanwhile, Engram who plays started hitting 3 pointers. She drained 3 in the first quarter, which ended with Georgia ahead 19-9.

Coach Blair gambled and put Carter back in to start the second quarter. She scored 9 in the quarter as the Ags more than doubled their scoring from the first period, but Georgia kept up their scoring pace as Fr G Gabby Connally heated up with 8 of her 10 first half points. The gap was still 7 at 38-31 as the teams went to halftime.

The Dawgs would reopen a double digit lead in the third quarter, but then the Ags came storming back, helped by turnovers that got the crowd back in it. A pair of Carter FTs tied it up at 52 with 1:36 left in the third quarter and Anriel Howard hit a jumper to take the lead for the first time since the first quarter. The Ags led 54-52 going into the final period.

The Ags would get the lead to 5 in the 4th quarter, but Georgia answered every time. Worse, A&M was getting harder looks than Georgia. Transition D became a problem. It looked to me like that was at least partly fatigue and its effect on focus. A Haley Clark FT knotted the score at 68 with 2:19 to go in the 4th. A Connally 3 pointer made it 71-68, Carter cut it to 71-70 with a pair of FTs. The Ags got a turnover and a chance to retake the lead with 55 seconds to go. But when Anriel couldn’t convert and Robinson grabbed the rebound with the shot clock off, Danni had to foul Connally, who made it a 3 point gap. Georgia packed in their defense but with 14 seconds left Carter hoisted a 3 from above the key that looked long.... but it banked in off the glass. Georgia couldn’t convert a couple of chances at the end of regulation and the teams went to OT.

Overtime started with both teams having players in foul trouble. Like Thursday’s OT, FGs were scarce to start the extra time, and once again the visitors took the lead but a pair of Hillsman FTs got the Ags back within striking distance. It was 76-75 Georgia with 3:59 to go. Plenty of time to save the win. But Engram got open for another 3 to make it a 4 point lead, and then the Ags transition D failed on a Carter miss. Fast break for Connally and suddenly it was 81-75 with 3:30 to go. Howard fouled out trying to rebound a Williams miss and Connally made it an 8 point lead with 3 minutes left. The Ags never recovered as Robinson swatted 3 shots down the stretch and Connally kept making FTs.

Final Score: 92-84 Georgia.

  • Carter had 31 points. It was the 4th time she’s scored 30+ and she’s already broken Takia Starks’ freshman scoring record with a lot of games left to play. She dribbles, shoots, and scores so much that it’s easy to think she’s selfish, but she’s among the SEC leaders in assists.
  • Anriel Howard and Khaalia Hillsman both had a double-doubles. They each had 14 points. Anriel had 15 rebounds. Khaalia had 10.
  • Jasmine Lumpkin had 13 points.
  • This was the first time in several games that A&M got any points off the bench, as Kayla Wells got 6 points.
  • Overall, the Ags outrebounded Georgia 52-48 and won the turnover battle 18-12. A&M took 87 shots to Georgia’s 67. Both teams went to the FT line the same number of times and the Ags made more from the line, even with the delay tactic fouls at the end. But we still lost. The differences: FG% (43.3% vs 32.2%) and made 3-pointers (12-30 vs 3-16).
  • Georgia was led by Connally with 37 points off the bench. 15 of those came in OT, playing with 4 fouls. Engram contributed 23 points; Robinson had 18 points and 19 rebounds. But to me, Robinson was the player of the game for the 8 blocked shots and how they affected the A&M offense. Blair compared her to Robert Williams from last year.

Up Next

  • Alabama Crimson Tide
  • 7PM CST Thurs. Jan 18, 2018
  • Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • TV: none. Streaming: SECN+, Radio 1150 AM/102.7 FM

The Schedule on has the game in Foster Auditorium, which is where we last played the Tide at their place during the 2015-16 season. The women moved back into Coleman Coliseum after that season but we had them at Reed last year. From watching the games on TV, Foster was a weird place to play. There were some floor level stands and then another tier of stands above a wall. Above that were windows. The photos of Coleman also show a distinctive architecture. Both Foster and Coleman are arched like big quonset huts, but the courts are oriented differently in the two venues.

Like Georgia, Alabama is a team with a good record (13-4 before Sunday, 3-1 in the SEC) against mostly unranked opposition. After they lost their SEC opener to Mizzou, it was tempting to forget about them. But while the Ags were upsetting Tennessee, Bama was knocking off LSU team that was picked a couple of spots ahead of them and that was getting attention as a dark horse in the SEC after Bayou Bengals upset Mizzou (the asterisk on that is that Mizzou was without leader Sophie Cunningham for that game).

Sunday the Tide had to go to Starkville to play Vic Schaefer’s #4 Lady Bulldogs. The Tide did take an early lead before Miss State took over. The Ags have never lost to Bama in 6 meetings going back to joining the SEC. Coach Kristy Curry is in year 5 of a rebuilding project for the Tide, which made a Final Four in 1994 but hasn’t made the NCAA Tourney since 1998. Last year’s 22-14 record was the first overall winning record since the 2010-11 team coached by her predecessor went 18-15. Both went 5-11 in SEC play. The highlight of their year was a second round upset of Tennessee in the SEC tournament.

Still, Alabama’s athletics department cares so much about WBB that the media guide on their website is from last year.

Likely starters:

  • #20 6-0 Sr F Ashley Williams is the leading rebounder and inside threat. Whether she can play is unknown as I write this. She was taken off the court on a stretcher at Miss State after hitting her head, but was conscious and taken to the hospital as precautionary measure. I would not be surprised to see her out.
  • #11 6-0 Sr G Hannah Cook is the outside gunner. A little over half her shot attempts are 3s. But she’s tied with Williams for the team lead in defensive rebounds.
  • #1 6-0 Sr F Quanetria Bolton started is second on the team in blocked shots.
  • #23 6-0 Jr G Shaquera Wade
  • #3 5-7 So G Jordan Lewis leads the team in minutes and assists. She was SEC newcomer of the year last season and made the All-Freshman team, starting every game.

We might see 6-5 So Ashley Knight start and we are likely to see her get playing time. Ashley (one of three Knights on the team) was third in the SEC in blocked shots going into Sunday’s game. Given that she only averages 17.4 min/g, that’s pretty impressive. Curry seems to use a lot of players. 11 of 14 on the roster are averaging more than 10 min/game, while only one player gets more floor time than our least-used starter.