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WBB: Ags succumb to #23 S. Carolina

A&M drops the SEC opener

aggieWBB vs USCe 2019
S. Carolina boxes out in the second half
jimhu’s iPhone

The Women’s Bouncy Ball Team opened SEC play by hosting the S. Carolina Gamecocks on Thursday night. After giving up the lead in a rough third quarter, the Ags couldn’t quite rally to take the game at the end.

Chennedy Carter was back after missing the UTRGV game with the flu. The seasonal virus continued to affect the team as Carter’s energy and stamina seemed to visibly wane as the game went on and she wasn’t herself from the field. Jada Walton didn’t even dress for the game, coming down with a 102 degree fever after her career high vs UTRGV. It was reported that overall 5 players were suffering from the flu, including several who played.

Despite all that, the Ags came out strong in the first half. After falling behind in the opening minute, A&M outscored USCe 13-4 in the rest of the first quarter. The Ags would stretch the lead to 9 in the second quarter with that being the margin going into the intermission after Ciera Johnson, who had a double-double in the first half, hit a buzzer beating turnaround jumper on an inbounds play.

But despite having the lead, there were signs of trouble. The Ags only shot 43.4% in the first half, with Carter going 3-11 and Kayla Wells going 1-9. N’dea Jones was 0-3. The lead was based on being more aggressive and getting to the FT line. A&M was 14-16 on FTs, while S. Carolina was just 2-4. A&M outrebounded the Gamecocks in the first half 26-23.

SC coach Dawn Staley would say later that the halftime adjustment was mainly about rebounding. And the Gamecocks came out in the third quarter and took over the game. The Ags would only get 2 offensive boards in the third while getting 5 shots blocked, 4 of them by Mikiah Herbert Harrigan. A&M would be held to just 11 points while giving up 21 and trailed going into the final quarter.

A Kayla Wells layup got the lead back for the Ags and when Johnson made a FT with 7:58 to go to make it 53-49 the crowd was hoping that Ags could hold on. But offensive ineffectiveness let the Gamecocks retake the lead and it was 58-55 for the visitors with 1:36 remaining. Carter would force the issue by driving to draw Herbert-Harrigan’s 4th foul, but Chennedy would miss 1 of 2 FTs to make it a 2 point game with 1:11 left. An offensive rebound by SC killed all but 22 second, but the Ags weren’t dead yet. Te’a Cooper missed a 3 pointer with the shot clock running down. Blair called timeout with 13 seconds remaining to get Kayla Wells back in with 4 fouls and to advance the ball to midcourt. Carter would draw another foul on a drive, sending Herbert Harrigan to the bench with her 5th. But Chennedy could only get 1 of 2 once again, forcing the Ags to foul. Cooper sank both to make it 60-57.

A final timeout advanced the ball with 6 ticks remaining. When Wells took the ball out from in front of the A&M bench, I thought the play might be to pass back to her for a 3 point attempt. But the Ags went to Carter at the top of the key and SC’s D didn’t give her anything approaching a clean look. The attempt to tie fell short and that was the game,

They thoroughly outplayed us, we shot 18% in the 3rd quarter and 20% in the 4th quarter. The two best players on the floor happened to play for them tonight, that was Te’a Cooper and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan.” - Gary Blair

  • Carter led the Ags with 19 points, playing almost the entire game. She was only 3-19 from the field but went 12-15 on FTs.
  • Ciera Johnson and Kayla Wells each had 13. Unfortunately, this reflected Ciera largely getting shut down in the second half. Still, Johnson finished with 17 rebounds. Wells had 10 in the second half.
  • N’Dea Jones had 13 boards.
  • Te’a Cooper led all scorers with 24 points, many on acrobatic moves in the paint. She added 7 rebounds and 6 assists. But for me, the player of the game was Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan who had 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots.

Up Next

  • LSU Tigers
  • Sunday Jan 6, 2019
  • Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Streaming: SECN+ Radio 1150AM/102.7FM

The Swamp Kittens fell to Georgia in Athens on Thursday night to get their record to 9-4. This was coming off a dominating win at home earlier in the week against South Florida. LSU tends to play much better at home than on the road, and the Ags have not done well at the Maravich Center in recent years.

LSU is one of many SEC teams with new faces in the lineup compared to recent years. Although Raigyne Louis (nee Moncrief) was the only senior she led the team in assists and steals, and was second in scoring. They also lost leading scorer Chloe Jackson to a transfer to Baylor. Probable starters:

  • #05 6-2 Jr F Ayana Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 14 ppg. She’s also the leading rebounder at 9.8 boards per game.
  • #24 6-5 So C Faustine Aifuye scores 9.2 ppg and adds 6.4 rebounds. She’s the leading shot blocker.
  • #03 5-7 So G Khayla Pointer averages 12.3 ppg. She appears to be the PG.
  • #13 5-4 Jr G Jaelyn Richard-Harris adds 7.4ppg
  • #02 508 Sr G Shanice Norton contributes 7.1 ppg and is the only senior on the roster.

Expect LSU to play an aggressive zone D the whole game. They like to jump the passing lanes and score off turnovers.

Hoping the flu recovery is further along by Sunday. BTHO LSU!