The Aggie Women’s Basketball team hosted the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday afternoon in the first test for A&M vs a power conference team. Duke is at the receiving votes level and is picked to finish in the middle of the ACC. The Blue Devils return most of their lineup from last season, but that lineup underachieved, missing the NCAA tournament after going .500 overall and 6-10 in a tough conference.
Athletic opponents that play zone defense have been trouble for Blair teams over the years, especially early in the season when players are learning the system. So when Duke erased a 9 point Aggie lead in the second quarter, there was need to adjust. Duke had scored first but then let the Ags take a 6 point lead by the end of the initial quarter by turning the ball over and giving up transition points. But after the lead got up to 9 with 8:04 left in the first half, the Ags started trying ill advised passes leading to a reversal of fortune with respect to transition points off turnovers. Duke tied the game at 23 with 6:36 to go in the half, and again at 25 with 4:39 remaining. Then Haey Gorecki answered Carters 2 pointer with a 3 pointer to take the second Duke lead of the game. A&M would regain the lead and entered the break up 33-30.
Before I had a chance to ask someone in my group whether Blair would start the second half by going inside, a steal by Ciera Johnson turned into a layup on the other end off a feed from Shambria Washington. Johnson would then score on a putback of a Kayla Wells missed 3. After Wells made a jump shot, Johnson would get fouled and make two FTs. That got the lead to 9.
- Rebounding was key. The Ags demolished Duke on the glass 47-26. Ciera and N’dea each had a dozen rebounds while Cheah grabbed 9.
- 4 out of 5 starters scored in double igures. Carter led the team with 25 on 11-25 shooting (3-9 from 3). Johnson’s 14 points made another double-double with her 12 boards. Kayla Wells has been quiet up until now but scored 13. Sham Washington got 10 points and 9 assists.
- Given the above, the Ags 13-5 edge in second chance points makes sense.
- Aaliyah Wilson continued to work her way back from injury by scoring 9.
- Turnovers were bad. After having an edge in the opening quarter, the Ags ended up with 22 turnovers to 18 for Duke. A lot of them seemed to be ill advised overly ambitious passes.
- Rice Owls
- Sunday Nov 17, 2019 2PM CST
- Tudor Fieldhouse, Houston, TX
- Streaming ESPN+ Radio 1620 AM
After playing three games in relatively rapid succession, The Ags will be off for a week before going down to Houston to play Rice. We got to see last year’s Rice team during the initial rounds of the NCAA tourney, as the Owls took on Marquette in the first round.
Rice is picked to repeat as C-USA champs and are receiving votes in both polls.
- #13 5-9 Sr G Erica Ogumwike is the preseason pick for C-USA player of the year. She averaged 18.5 ppg last season to go with 10.5 rebounds per game.
- #32 6-9 Jr C Nancy Mulkey averaged 13.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg. Her rebounding numbers are probably low because she goes for a lot of blocks and rejected 94 shots in 24 games. She was nursing an injury when we played the Owls last year, so we haven’t faced her.
- #15 5-11 Fr F Lauren Schwartz
- #10 5-7 So G Jasmine Smith started 32 games last year.
- #2 5-11 Jr G Sydne Wiggins started 29 games last season.
They did graduate a couple of senior contributors in Nicole Iademarco and Lauren Grigsby. Iadamarco was a starter and Grigsby averaged 20 minutes off the bench. It looks like the freshman, Schwartz will take Iademarco’s role.