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WBB: Ags get chopped by the Noles

Ags join the victims of an upset-filled weekend in WBB

NCAA Womens Basketball: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament - Notre Dame vs UNC
Kiah Gillespie with 22 was one of 4 FSU starters in double figures vs the Ags on Sunday.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

While the Ags were spending Thanksgiving at home, WBB had a weekend of upsets and near misses as many teams went to Thanksgiving tournaments. The chaos started on Turkey Day as #17 Indiana upset SEC co-favorite #5 S. Carolina in the Reef Division of the Paradise Jam, and unranked Creighton upset #23 W. Virginia. Friday was relatively quiet, but unranked LSU beat #15 Michigan State in the Bimini Division of the Junkanoo Jam. Saturday #1 and #2 both lost in the islands. #8 Louisville beat #1 Oregon 72-62, while S. Carolina took out #2 Baylor 74-59. The Lady Bears were missing All-American Lauren Cox, who has been out for several games. #3 Stanford barely avoided being upset by #10 Mississippi State in a late game in Victoria BC.

Knowing about all this carnage, the Ags went up to Fort Worth to face an undefeated #12 Florida State team on Sunday evening. The game was on Fox Southwest, which is how I watched it. The Ags went with their usual starting lineup of Johnson, Jones, Wells, Carter, and Washington. Florida State countered with Woolfolk, GIllespie, Ekhomu, Myers, and Jones.

The first quarter was back and forth on the strangely painted hardwood of the TCU arena (it’s icy white). Despite Ciera Johnson going 0-4 on layups, the Ags used an 8-2 edge in points off turnovers to lead by as many as 5 before Kiah Gillespie cut it to 2 with a 3-pointer. Both teams were 8-16 from the field; FSU was 2-5 from behind the arc but A&M held the advantage from the FT line going 4-4.

Both teams stayed hot from the field to start the second quarter. Woolfolk erased the lead from 3 point distance to open the scoring, but the lead changed hands several times. With Johnson struggling and having 2 fouls, Blair used a lineup with Jones in the post and Rael-Whitsitt at the 4 for long stretches. It was tied at 30 with 4:17 to go in the half. Then things fell apart for A&M. A turnover by Carter was followed by N’dea going to the bench with her third foul. Aahliyah Jackson came in for Jones. Blair would try Jackson and Anna Dreimane in the lineup as FSU went on a 10-2 run to end the first half.

It felt like A&M could still come back after one of Blair’s trademark halftime adjustments, and the Ags usually are better on offense when their playing on the same end where our bench is. And indeed, the offense went back to 50% FG shooting after going 6-17 in the second quarter. The problem was that the Noles were still shooting the lights out and the D couldn’t get stops. The lead went up to 13 and then the Ags started to come back. A&M would never force FSU into a scoreless stretch, but the lead was whittled away to 57-52 as A&M worked harder to get inside and draw fouls.

But that was as close as the Ags would come. Wells would get 3 fouls early in the 4th and foul out after not being in significant foul trouble for the first 3 quarters. Carter would get her 2nd foul early in the 4th but fouled out with 4:21 remaining. The Ags pressed to try to get possession, and turned FSU over several times, but gave the ball right back on bad passes or fumbles. It was ugly. A&M didn’t score at all after Sham Washington hit a jumper with 3:20 remaining. Before that, the Ags were stuck on 56 from the 7:06 mark. A&M would only score 6 in the final quarter.

Final Score Florida State 80, Texas A&M 58.

  • Carter got her 20 on 8-22 shooting. But she was 0-7 from 3 point range.
  • Wells and Johnson each had 10 points.
  • 4 out of 5 FSU starters were in double figures in scoring. Woolfolk and Gillespie had 24 and 22. Both shot over 50% for the game.
  • FSU was 7-21 on 3 pointers. A&M was 1-11.

There’s going to be lots of teaching material from the film on this one.

Up Next

  • Central Arkansas Sugar Bears
  • Wed Dec 4 2019 11AM
  • Reed Arena
  • Streaming SECN+ Radio 1150AM

This is the annual Elementary School Day game, which is why the start is early. Not sure if I’ll make it this year, but I should be able to see at least part of the game against Central Arkansas. Last year Elementary School Day vs Lamar was a shocking loss, but a later game vs UCA was a record blowout. Kamry Orr, who led the Sugar Bears last season at Reed has graduated. Based on their last game, 2-4 UCA is likely to start:

  • #4 5-7 Sr G Taylor Sells
  • #2 5-11 Jr Tr F Ayana Trigg
  • #0 5-10 Jr Tr G/F Briana Trigg
  • #3 5-7 So Tr G Romola Dominguez
  • #11 5-7 Jr G Savanna Walker

However, UCA has only had one player start every game, and this is a smaller lineup than they could go with against the Ags.