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WBB wins the opener over UALR

USA National Team up next

Olympics: Basketball-Women’s Team-Gold medal match -USA vs ESP
Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird are future Hall of Famers coming on Thursday
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The #6 Women’s Basketball team played an exhibition game against NAIA Oklahoma CIty last Friday and then opened the regular season with a nonconference game against Arkansas Little Rock.

Ags 67 Oklahoma City 37

A&M dominated their opponent on the scoreboard but the game was mostly kind of ugly but for good reasons. The starters were the five who started at the end of last season but N’dea Jones was taken out a lot to make sure she didn’t aggravate her injured hamstring. In N’dea’s place Cheah Real-Whitsitt played 20 minutes and played well. Everyone eligible on the roster played double digit minutes.

Despite the big difference on the scoreboard, there was clearly a lot of work to do to reduce the offseason rust. Carter and Ciera Johnson were generally fine. Carter had 22 points on 8-15 shooting with 4 assists in 26 minutes. Johnson was the leading scorer with a double double: 24 points on 10-15 shooting and 10 boards. Sham Washington had a solid game with 7 assists.

But there were also a lot of bricks from the field and the FT line. Carter was 2-6 from 3; the rest of the team was 0-7 behind the arc. Because Blair wants to work Aaliyah Wilson and Anna Dreimane back into game form after long layoffs, he left them in despite both going 1-8 from the field. Both should be much better going forward.

Still, it was fun to see the team again on the new floor in Reed. At the end, the OCU team joined the Ags and the dance team to saw Varsity’s horns off.

Ags 78 Little Rock 35

OCU is a power in NAIA, but it’s still NAIA. Little Rock is predicted to win the Sun Belt despite having lost a bunch of players to graduation. The Trojans got off to a fast start and led 9-4 but the A&M went on a 15-2 run in the middle of the first quarter and never looked back. The game was similar in that Johnson and Carter were the main scorers, but the chemistry felt stronger. Carter, who was not wearing her signature 1 leg covered for the first time I can remember, had 5 assists by halftime, and Johnson had 18 points by the intermission. Once again, the A&M lead grew enough to allow Blair to play everyone on the roster in both halves.

The defense was outstanding. The Ags held UALR to 27.6% shooting and outscored the Trojans in the paint 52-8.

  • Johnson finished with a double double: 24 points and 13 boards
  • Carter had 16 points and 6 assists plus 5 boards
  • Despite limited minutes again, N’dea scored 13 and grabbed 8 boards.
  • Kayla Wells hasn’t gone off on offense yet, but was reponsible for shutting down their best player.

Up Next

  • USA National Team
  • Thursday Nov 7, 2019 7PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • SECN+ streaming. 1150AM

The US National Team is playing four games against top college teams early in the season. They opened at Stanford last Saturday and then played Oregon State on Monday night. They flew to Houston to drive to College Station for a game with the Ags on Thursday and then have to go back to the West Coast to face Oregon on Saturday.

I watched the game vs Oregon State on the Pac-12 network. In both cases the college teams kept it close for part of the first half but then the superior talent broke open the games in the second half. The team that comes to Reed is likely to be close to the one that plays next summer in Tokyo. Elena Della Donne and Britney Griner aren’t on the tour but the rest of the roster is like a WNBA All-Star team. Minnesota Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve is subbing for Dawn Staley as the interim head coach. Players expected include

Simone Augustus

Sue Bird

Layshia Clarendon

Napheesa Collier

Skylar Diggins-Smith

Sylvia Fowles

Alisha Gray

Chelsea Gray

Nneka Ogumwike

Kelsey Plum

Diana Taurasi

A’ja Wilson

Plum didn’t play the first two games but is expected to be here. Augustus and Fowles played for Coach Starkey at LSU and are going to meet with the Ags. It will be interesting to see if the Ogumwike family comes to Reed; Nneka and her sisters are from Cypress and one of her sisters plays for Rice. Coach Blair talked about how he hopes the A&M fans come out for this exhibition.

I’m wondering if the yell leaders will do BTHO USA.