The Women’s Bouncy Ball looked to bounce back from their loss in Knoxville on Super Bowl Sunday by hosting the Auburn Tigers at Reed Arena.
After the opening tip went out of bounds, Auburn scored first on a 3 pointer by Daisa Alexander. That was their only lead of the game and it lasted until Chennedy Carter started a 7-0 run to put the Ags up. Against the press, Carter and Danni Williams did a good job bringing the ball up and it 6 Auburn turnovers became 10 points for the Ags in the first quarter, which ended with A&M up 22-15.
It got worse for Auburn in the second quarter. A&M stretched the lead to double digits early in the second quarter and Coach Blair started using the bench. Kayla Wells has been the one getting the most minutes of late and she played 8 minutes in the first half, scoring on a nice aggressive drive off a head fake and later getting the first 3 pointer of her Aggie career. Blair experimented with different combinations, using Danni at the point with Jada Walton at the 2 early in the period. Lulu McKinney ran the point at the end of the half and showed great patience in passing up a baseline J to set up an assist to Hillsman just before the buzzer. The Ags had shot 81.8% from the field in the second quarter, for an overall FG% of 62.1%. There were 13 assists on 18 made baskets. Halftime score: 43-25 A&M.
Carter rebounded a missed 3 by Abigayle Jackson and went coast to coast to make it a 20 point lead 27 seconds into the second half. The lead fluctuated around that for a while, highlighted by a great feed from Carter to Jasmine Lumpkin on a fast break. At 6:30, Janiah McKay hit a 3-pointer to restore the 18 point halftime margin. But then the Ags went on a 15-0 that began with a pair of 3 pointers by Danni. Coach Blair called a 30 second timeout after the second to commemorate Williams joining the 1000 point club. 66-39 after the 3rd.
The bench played even more in the final quarter. Blair kept one or two starters in with the reserves, but it got ragged at times. Still Auburn was unable to get closer than 15. It seemed like Coach Blair put Anriel back in for a stretch in the hope that she would get another double double. She had a chance but missed the second of two FTs with 2:52 remaining.
The most obvious takeaway was how well the offense clicked against a weaker opponent. But the D was better too, with Amy Wright commenting in the postgame about how the team is starting to understand how the 2-3 zone should be played.
- Carter finished with 23 points. Danni had 20. Jasmine Lumpkin was in double digits for the second straight game with 10.
- Anriel Howard fell one FT short of a double-double with 9 points and 10 boards.
- Kayla Wells (5), N’Dea Jones (2), and Jada Walton (2) all made it into the scoring column.
- 19 assists was nice. Carter and Williams each had 6 and had some nice feeds to each other on the break. Howard added 5.
- Auburn was led by Janiah McKay with 16 and Abigayle Jackson with 13.
There are two SEC games Monday night, with Mizzou playing Florida on the SEC Network, while the big game is #7 S. Carolina traveling to Starkville to play the undefeated #2 MSU Bulldogs. Vic’s girls have the higher ranking, better record, and the memorable achievement of breaking UConn’s winning streak last year, but the Gamecocks have the National Championship and Vic has never beaten Staley. Both games are at 6PM and neither should affect the Ags place in the SEC standings.
For the teams that did play, in general the top half of the conference took care of the bottom half with Tennessee beating Vandy, Georgia beating Ole Miss, and LSU hanging on vs Kentucky. Which means we’re still in a 3-way tie for 4th. A MSU win would make it a 4 way tie for 3rd.
I alluded to the second NCAA committee reveal in the late recap of the Tennessee loss. Here’s the complete list
NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee – February 1 – Top-16 Ranking*
1. UConn (No. 1 seed – Albany Region)
2. Mississippi State (No. 1 seed – Kansas City Region)
3. Louisville (No. 1 seed – Lexington Region)
4. Notre Dame (No. 1 seed – Spokane Region)
7. South Carolina
8. Florida State
16. Texas A&M
Next pre-selection show release is Feb 19.
- Ole Miss Rebels
- Thursday February 8, 2018
- Reed Arena
- Streaming: SECN+ Radio: 1150 AM/102.7 FM
The Rebels were picked to be near the bottom of the SEC in the preseason, and that was before their best player, Shandricka Sessom (preseason second team all-SEC), was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Without her, the Rebels are 1-9 in conference play. Their win was in OT at home against a Florida team getting used to a new coach. The Gators only have 2 conference wins - one was the rematch vs Ole Miss.
So, the W-L record is pretty awful. But the Rebels can play pretty well - just not for a whole game so far. Coach Matt Insell is quoted as calling is team the “best 32-minute team in the country”. Even in a lopsided loss to Georgia on Sunday, the Rebs led at halftime before going stone cold in the second half (they scored 8 in the 3rd quarter and 7 in the 4th). This was also without their leading scorer, Madinah Muhammad, who was out on the concussion protocol. I expect her to be back for the Ags. Without Sessom and Muhammad, Ole Miss is also very young. Likely starters:
- #20 5-8 Jr G Madinah Muhammad averages 17.3 ppg. She’s a 3 point threat and is 54/158 on the season from distance out of a total of 122-361.
- #25 5-8 Jr G Alissa Alston averages 15.2 ppg. She leads the Rebs in assists.
- #42 6-3 So F/C Shelby Gibson has started every conference game but averages 20.9 minutes. She’s one of the “OMG that big girl can shoot the 3” types. But despite her size she only averages 3 rebounds per game and has fouled out of 3/10 SEC games.
- #1 5-10 So G Bree Glover has a stat line that suggests she’s in there mostly for D and rebounding. She averages 1.5 ppg with a high of 4. She’s only taken 31 shots in 23 games although she averages 20. minutes.
- #0 5-9 Fr G Chyna Nixon averages 3.2 ppg with a season best of 10. Although she has started all 10 conference games, she averages less than a half of PT. She was a 4 star recruit out of HS.
We will likely see #55 6-5 Fr F Promise Taylor off the bench or as an alternative starter. She’s their leading shot blocker by a lot and is averaging 22.8 min/g in SEC play. Against Georgia, Ole Miss played a 2-3 zone, but the commentary was that this was really unusual for them. Insell generally wants to press and run, but injuries have affected their ability to play his preferred style. It will be interesting to see whether they keep the zone for the Ags or go back to man D.