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WBB: Ags win a thriller at Reed 70-68

Gary Blair goes for career win 800 on Sunday

A really bad photo of perhaps the shot of the game
jimhu’s iphone

The TCU Horned Frogs came to Reed on Wednesday night with a 7-0 record and a team with a lot of seniors who have played A&M before. Both teams came out in active 2-3 zones that led to a lot of turnovers. Between Carter’s opening layup and the second basked of the game the two teams turned it over 5 times within the first 2 minutes. A&M had the better of the first quarter leading by as much as 7 but couldn’t shake off the Frogs. It was 19-12 after the first quarter. The tables turned in the second quarter as TCU got a 7-2 edge in points off turnovers and used a 5-1 edge in made 3 pointers send the game into the break tied at 34. TCU was 5-13 from behind the arc, while the Ags were 1-7.

In the post-game, Carter would blame herself for not playing well in the first quarter. She committed 5 turnovers in the first quarter, which was 5 out of 6 giveaways in the opening frame. Carter didn’t turn it over in the second quarter but the team committed 3 more that led to 7 points off turnovers in Q2. Worse, the Ags were giving up second chances off offensive rebounds.

The team stayed in the locker room at halftime quite a bit longer than TCU, which made me wonder if the Coaches were giving the team a hard time about the errors. I think a lot of us expected the Ags to come out hot in the 3rd quarter and reassert themselves the way they did vs Oklahoma State over the weekend. Instead, A&M stayed stuck on 34 for 4 minutes. fortunately, TCU could only get to 38 in that time. The lead went back and forth. Ciera Johnson finally scored in the quarter and got 8 points. Still it was tied at 48 with 42 seconds remaining. A foul on Carter and 2FTs by Ray gave TCU a 50-48 lead going into the final period.

Both teams shot well by going inside in the final period. Blair started the quarter with Carter on the bench as part of his managing her foul situation after Chennedy picked up her second and third fouls in the third period. Ciera Johnson would pick up her fourth foul in the middle of the final quarter but would play on. Cheah Rael-Whitsitt tied the game early and Carter gave the Ags the lead at 52-50. But after a short timeout, TCU would get the lead back up to 56-52 with 6:51 remaining. TCU would hang on to the lead and were up 5 with 3:24 remaining at 66-61 after Ray hit a layup. A&M’s offense was doing better but we weren’t getting stops. Somewhere in the quarter, Blair increased the defensive pressure by going to full court pressure. N’dea Jones cut the lead to 3.

With 1:16 remaining Carter tied the game at 66 with what was only A&M’s second 3 pointer of the night. Later, Cierra Johnson would tell the radio team that the play was actually called for Kayla Wells but when TCU left Carter wide open she took the shot. A Washington steal gave the Ags a chance for the lead and TCU left way too much room on the left side for Carter to shake her defender and drive for a layup. 68-66 with 32 seconds left and the crowd was going crazy. TCU called timeout to advance the inbounds pass and got a drive by Jayde Woods to tie it with 12 seconds remaining. Which meant A&M got the final shot to win or go to OT. Carter drove around a defender at the top of the key and rose at the SEC logo in the key for a floater. She’s surrounded by all 5 TCU players as she goes up and the ball falls in for a 70-68 lead with 3 seconds left. The Aggie D forced TCU to take the inbounds pass well past the arc and Heard wasn’t close to being able to get a final shot off before the buzzer.

  • All five starters for the Ags were in double figures scoring. Johnson’s all came in the second half.
  • Carter led with 25. Her 8 turnovers were 5 in the opening quarter, then 3 in the second half. She compensated somewhat with 6 assists and 3 steals. And, of course, taking over at the end.
  • N’dea Jones had a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. She also blocked 3 shots.
  • Sham Washington had 10 points, which is high for her, but had 3 turnovers against only 1 assist.
  • TCU was led by Lauren Heard with 21 and Kianna Ray with 20. Both played almost the whole game. Heard had 4 assists and 6 turnovers. Ray had 3A, 3TO. It felt like Ray was the hot hand in the first half when she got all 4 of her 3 pointers.
  • A&M only outrebounded TCU by 39-38. The Ags gave up 12 offensive rebounds. Afterward, Coach Blair talked about how he needs the guards to help more on the defensive glass.

This was career win 799 for Coach Blair. It was an exciting, if frustrating night that finished with a happy ending, but this team is still working on playing up to its potential.

Up Next

  • University of Houston Cougars
  • Sunday Dec 15, 2019 1PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • Holiday Hoops pricing
  • TV: SEC Network Radio: 1620 AM, 94.5 FM

The men play TAMU-Corpus Christi at 5PM. It’s not clear to me whether or not this is a double header, or a separate admission. The long gap between tipoff times makes me wonder.

UH is 5-5 and doesn’t have a midweek game after beating La Tech last Sunday. The Cougars were picked in the preseason to finish 5th in the AAC. Five games into the young season, leading scorer Jasmyne Harris disappeared from the roster just before the Cougars faced Syracuse in Victoria, BC. This was only a few days after she played 27 minutes and scored 14. Starters in their last game were

  • 03 5-10 Sr F Dorian Branch is the leading scorer at 14.6 ppg. She’s getting 6.2 rpg. Ciera Johnson talked about how she’s an old friend of Branch and how their families are close.
  • 01 6-0 Fr F Bria Patterson 6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpc.
  • 23 5-10 Jr G Julia Blackshell-Fair: 9.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg.
  • 05 5-3 So G Dymond Gladney 9.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg. Leads in assists, turnovers, and steals.
  • 30 6-2 So F Tatyana Hill is the second leading scorer at 10.4 ppg. She leads in rebounding at 6.5 rpg but Branch and Blackshell-Fair are close.

UH averages 5.2 3 pointers made per game and is shooting .268 from behind the arc. Overall they shoot .397 FG%. Hill and Blackshell-Frear don’t take 3 pointers but the other starters average between 2.6 to 6.0 3FGA/game.

Last year A&M won 68-52 in Houston in a game that happened before Sham Washington’s emergence following Wilson’s knee injury. The only two Cougars to score in double figures aren’t with the team anymore: Jasmyne Harris (17) and Octavia Barnes (13), who graduated.

If the Ags can take care of Houston, it will mean that Gary Blair will get win 800 in front of a home crowd before heading to Puerto Rico for two games.