The Women’s Bouncy Ball team had an ugly loss in front of the annual gathering of screaming elementary school kids on Thursday.
The 11AM start meant that I didn’t get to Reed Arena until the middle of the second quarter. From listening to the radio on the way over, I learned that Chennedy Carter was suspended for the game for missing or being late for a practice. This meant that Shambria Washington got her first career start at the PG position. Lamar used 3 pointers and defense to take a small lead in the first quarter, but A&M was up 29-26 as I left lot 74. By the time I took my seat, Lamar had gone on a 9-2 run where A&M turned it over on 3 straight possessions. The Ags would never lead again.
It was 39-35 at halftime and I expected the team to come out and play strong in the 3rd after strong words from the coaches in the locker room. Indeed, the Ags tied the game at 39 and had a chance at the lead when N’dea Jones tried to put in a layup after a stop. But the ball wouldn’t go down and the Cardinals speed and pressing D created more turnovers and a double-digit lead before the few stunned regulars and the thousands of kids who kept screaming anyway. The third quarter ended with a banked in 3 from Jadyn Pimentel to give Lamar a 61-53 advantage.
A&M would increase the defensive pressure in the final quarter and managed to cut the lead all the way down to 2 at 65-63 with 3:56 remaining. Plenty of time to pull out an ugly win, right? But it was not to be. The possession to tie the game never led to a shot as there was yet another turnover.
- Aaliyah Wilson led the Ags with 17 points and 9 boards. But she needed 19 FGA and 3 FT to get there. Wilson played all 40 minutes.
- Kayla Wells had a career high 16 points and 8 rebounds
- Cierra Johnson scored 15 points
- N’dea Jones had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Can we call that a Big12 double-double (base 8).
- Shambria Washington’s first start was ugly. Sham was 0-4 from the field, 1-4 from the FT line, and had 4 assists to 8 turnovers.
- 20 turnovers led to 20 of the Cardinals points
- For Lamar, Chastadie Barrs had 23 points and 4 steals. Miya Crump had 20. Moe Kinard contributed 15. The Cardinals shot 38.9% overall and were 7-23 from behind the arc.
The performance might have been even worse than the stats suggest. To my eye, the Ags played hard but not smart. Despite a general advantage in athleticism and size for the big school, Lamar controlled the pace and used a basic press to keep A&M from establishing a half-court offense. The Ags gave up a lot of step back 3 pointers and layups in the half court D, along with 10 fast break points. Although A&M outrebounded Lamar 44-37, it felt like this should have been a larger margin, given the size advantage. A&M gave up 17 offensive boards, leading to 17 second chance points. The 20 turnovers included 10 steals by Lamar, but they also included some really terrible passes and dribbling into obvious trap situations that led to steals.
This game did not have anything to do with who did not play in the game. It has only to do with who did play in the game, and who coached the game. Obviously, their coaching staff did a better job because they didn’t know until one hour until the ball game. They didn’t care who was playing; they just rolled up their sleeves and played. We didn’t do a good job of getting our team ready and we didn’t play well. A lot of that was Lamar. Their guards were more poised and made better decisions, and they only had 13 turnovers. Most of those were at the end and we never converted. - Coach Blair
The obvious response is how can it not matter that Carter wasn’t available? But I think he’s right. This team should be able to win in this circumstance. Maybe it will be a blessing in disguise, though, if it helps the coaches get across that there’s much more work to do that the team might have believed coming in with just the one loss to ranked Syracuse. We can only hope it’s a teaching moment.
- Houston Cougars
- Thursday DEC 6, 2018 6 PM CST.
- Fertitta Center, Houston TX
- TV: ESPN2 Radio 1150 AM
The Cougars are currently 3-5 with a game on Saturday before the Ags come down to play the first WBB game in the Fertitta Center, which is the new name for the remodeled version of Hofheinz Pavilion. UH may be significantly better than their 3-5 record would suggest. The losses were by 1 at Cal, in OT to La Tech, 57-64 to Boston College, in 2OT to N Mexico, and 71-76 to Florida Gulf Coast. We just lost to Lamar, who were coming off losses to Denver and Ohio.
Four of the five likely starters are veterans who started the majority of games for the Cougars last season.
- 0 5-6 Jr G Angela Harris was third team all conference last year. She’s averaging 11.9 ppg
- 23 5-11 Sr G Serithia Hawkins averages 12.4 ppg
- 03 5-10 Jr F Dorian Branch averages 7.9 ppg
- 04 5-8 Jr G Jasmyne Harris leads the team in scoring at 19 ppg
- 12 6-3 Rs TR So Alyssa Okoene sat last year after transferring from N. Carolina. She’s averaging 10.8 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 8.1 rpg