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WBB: Ags fall to #18 Syracuse

Late comeback falls short

NCAA Womens Basketball: Louisville at Syracuse
Tiana Mangakahia led Syracuse to a win over Texas A&M
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Chennedy Carter celebrated her 20th birthday by leading the Women’s Bouncy Ball team into a game against Syracuse in the West Chester County Center, home of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

First quarter

As expected, the Orange came out in a 2-3 zone while the Ags played man D. The early offense for both teams game from the PG position. After the Ags took an early 7-2 lead, Cuse went off on a 9-0 run into the first media timeout. Syracuse scored first out of the timeout, but then the Ags fought back to retake the lead on a pull up J by Aaliyah Wilson. After a fast break by Carter, a 3 pointer from Drummond tied the game at 16. The Ags couldn’t get the rim on their final shot attempt.

Second quarter

The second quarter started with 3 pointers from both teams. Syracuse hit 2 to Carter’s 1 and then held a small lead as the teams went back and forth. it was tied at 30 at the media timeout in the second quarter. Mangakahia had 13 and Carter had 15 by then, Kayla Well scored late to take a 35-34 lead into halftime.

Syracuse dominated the glass in the first half.

Third quarter

Syracuse went on a 10-0 run to open the second half. Timeout Ags. The run continued after the timeout as Cuse also started to defend further out. Wilson broke the run on a putback of a Carter miss to make it 47-37. The Ags cut it to 7 but then Syracuse would get the lead to 13. It was 60-47 going at the end of the 3rd.

Fourth quarter

There was a very odd technical foul on the Ags where A&M apparently forgot to tell the scorers that Cheah Real-Whitsett was on the roster. After a 3 pointer from Wilson, there was another commercial break with Cuse up 15. It was 69-55 when Coach Q from Cuse called a timeout.

The Ags went to a press and got several turnovers to cut the lead to 7 as Jada Walton took a feed from Cheah Real-Whitsett. Cheah was involved in another turnover and was fouled to cut the lead to 71-65 with 1:27 left. The Ags got a stop but gave up an offensive rebound. Syracuse had to use their last timeout with 55 seconds left. The Ags fouled and had a chance to cut the lead after both FTs were missed. But A&M couldn’t convert and Carter fouled out to stop the clock as other players didn’t do it first.


I was concerned about this game given how Syracuse had done so well in a close loss to #3 Oregon in their previous outing. I expected their zone to be a problem for the Ags, especially this early in the year with an inexperienced lineup. Given that, I thought the women played well overall, with the obvious exception of the huge run in the 3rd quarter where the team looked lost on both offense and defense. Syracuse focused on stopping Carter, and while they had trouble with that in the first half, adjustments and the pace of the game seemed to take a toll. The late rally got my hopes up of pulling out an epic comeback win, but it was not to be.

  • Carter led the Ags with 18 points, but 15 came in the first half. Overall Carter was 7-19 from the floor.
  • Aaliyah Wilson added 17 points, and was 3-6 on 3 pointers. Kayla Wells also finished in double figures.
  • Shambria Washington played 32 minutes, allowing Blair to work Carter at the 2 guard. Shambria played well at times, leading the Ags in blocked shots with 2 and assists with 5. But she wasn’t an offensive threat, going 1-8 from the floor.
  • It was a rough night for the A&M front line. The team was badly outrebounded 52-31. Cierra Johnson had just 6 points and 3 boards, while N’dea Jones was pulled and ended up shut out in both scoring and rebounding after getting a double double vs Jacksonville. She would only play 8 minutes.
  • Cheah Rael-Whitsett is becoming an early fan favorite with her energy off the bench. She wa a big part of the 4th quarter rally, grabbing 3 rebounds and getting 4 steals in just 7 minutes on the floor. She finished with 3 points, going 3-3 from the FT line.
  • Overall the Ags shot just 37.3% from the floor and only got to the FT line 12 times, making 7
  • Tiana Mangakahia was the clear player of the game. She finished with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists and was the floor leader for the Orange. She did turn it over 8 times. Syracuse would commit 24 turnovers overall in the win. Two other Syracuse players finished in double figures: Drummond with 10 and Djaldi-Tabdi with 15 off the bench.

Up Next

  • UALR Trojans
  • Tues Nov 20, 2018 6L30PM CST
  • Jack Stephens Center, Little Rock, AR
  • No TV. Stream appears to be pay to view. Radio will be 1150 AM

Coach Blair and his old friend Joe Foley have been neck and neck in the all-time coaching wins records. Last year, Little Rock won the Sun Belt and was knocked out by 3 seed Florida State in the first round. UALR has started out this season 2-0 (wins vs La Tech and Florida Atlantic) and will play Rice on Saturday before A&M starts a run of 3 SEC opponents: TAMU, LSU, and Miss State.

Likely starters

Stats are based on just 2 games.

  • 23 5-9 Jr G Kyra Collier leads the Trojans at 19 ppg. She missed 15 games last season due to an injury. She started against the Ags last year but was held to 2 pts on 1-6 shooting
  • 00 6-0 Sr F Ronjanae DeGray adds 13.5 ppg and 7 rebounds/game. Ronjanae was all conference last season. She had 17 points against the Ags last year in Reed.
  • 25 6-1 Jr F Anna Hurlburt came off the bench last year
  • 30 5-11 Sr F Raeyana DeGray is Ronjanae’s twin sister. She started 17 games last season and played in every game.
  • 12 5-7 Jr G Sydney Chastain leads the team with 5 assists/g