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WBB: Ags finish 2019 with a 85-48 win

Coaches: Gotta play better to make it in the SEC

Ags vs TAMU-CC 2019
Ciera Johnson celebrates her birthday with 16 points against TAMU-Corpus Christi
jimhu’s iphone

The Islanders of A&M Corpus Christi came in with 4 Senior starters and a four game win streak, but let’s be honest: all over the country, those teams that weren’t opening conference play were getting back into the groove after their Xmas breaks by playing less than impressive opponents.

TAMU-CC took the early lead, but it was only 5-3 before the Ags went on a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. Two things I noticed at the start of the game:

  • almost all the Ags went with black socks but McKinzie Green didn’t get the memo
  • A&M wanted to work on the full court press on D

The Ags were up 21-7 after the first quarter. Only Anna Dreimane didn’t make it onto the floor in a first half that finished at 42-21. She was at the scorer’s table getting ready to check in when time ran out in the second quarter.

Anna did get in later. Everyone on the roster played at least 8 minutes. Despite the bench playing so much the Ags outscored the outmatched Islanders by 23-12 in the third quarter and 20-15 in the final period. At one point in the final period Carter was on the bench with a warmup jacket on when it looked like Blair realized she only had 19 points and put her back in.

Final Score: Ags 85, Islanders 48

  • The 85 points was a season high for the team. Four starters were in double figures in points, led by Carter’s 22. Kayla Wells scored 17 and shot well from 3 point range (3-4). Ciera Johnson had 16 points on her birthday. N’dea Jones had another double double with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Sham Washington had 5 assists and no turnovers. Freshman McKinsey Green matched that for a career high.
  • The Ags outrebounded the Islanders 49-30.

So, that sounds good for a last tuneup, right? Nope. In the post-game radio, Assistant Coach Bob Starkey ripped the performance and Coach Blair chimed in during the presser.

”We’re ready for SEC play only by our record, not by our improvement. We need to be getting better, improving, and correcting our mistakes. We can’t just turn it on when we’re playing a Florida State or an Arkansas or a Georgia Tech or whatever. We have to do a better job of game planning and playing hard from the opening tap. When we do that, maybe it’ll happen during conference play, we’ll be a better team that will know how to play 40 minutes.”

I found myself thinking it would be really interesting to eavesdrop on the film review for the game. From Blair’s comments it seems that he thinks we’re not running the power offense through Ciera well enough and that he needs Sham to take charge of running the offense, especially in the first half when the coaches are far away.

Up Next

SEC play starts with the New Year

  • Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Thu Jan 2, 2020 8PM CST
  • Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, AR
  • Streaming: SECN+ Radio: 1150AM/93.7FM

Arkansas lost some key players from the team that eliminated a Carter-less A&M team from the SEC tourney last year. But they’ve added some key pieces and they’re more in tune with Mike Neighbors’ system in the third year. They’re still lacking a big in the middle, but they want to run and shoot 3s. If they get hot - and it’s at their place - things could get ugly. Like the Ags, the Razorbacks are 12-1. Their one loss came at Cal in late November. Their scoring margin is +29.2 and they average 86.9 ppg

Likely starters based on 5 who have started all 13 games.

  • #33 5-11 Rs Jr G Chelsea Dungee is averaging just under 20 ppg (19.8). Dungee was a breakout star in the SEC last season after sitting out her transfer year - She started at Oklahoma. Dungee also tied for second in rebounding average at 5.6.
  • #23 5-9 RsJr Tr G Amber Ramirez sat out last season after transferring from TCU. She’s averaging 13.8 ppg. Her 3FG% (.460) is higher than her overall FG% (.407).
  • #2 5-8 Sr G Alexis Tolfree is a Juco transfer who became visibly more comfortable in her role late last season. She’s very quick and has the highest 3FG% on the team at .466.
  • #43 5-8 Fr G Makayla Daniels averages 10.6 ppg
  • #24 6-1 Jr F Taylah Thomas is the leading rebounder at 8.8/gm. She’s scoring 6.5 ppg