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WBB: Comeback win over LSU 59-55

Miss State comes to Reed on Sunday

The Women’s Bouncy Ball team hosted LSU for the annual BTHO Breast Cancer Game at Reed Arena on Thursday night. Most teams do a pink uniform game around this time of the season, but the Aggie Women added some extra Good Bull in how they did it this year. Players and coaches each identified someone in their life who had been affected by cancer and put that person’s name on the special jerseys. For Jada Walton and Jasmine Williams it was their mothers, who each lost before they came to A&M. Chennedy Carter honored an aunt. Caylinne Martin was fortunate to not have anyone in her family touched by cancer so she reached out to the B/CS community and honored a current patient. Coach Blair had a jersey for ESPN announcer Holly Rowe. The game is always special at A&M since assistant Coach Bob Starkey donates extra for every student who came in the name of his wife, who is a breast cancer survivor.

It was the one time the team was told to play for the name on the back of their jersey instead of the name on the front.

The Ags started quickly and were up early 6-2. But Carter tried a couple of overly aggressive plays on D and had to go to the bench with 7:28 left in the first quarter. Jada Walton came in for Carter. Later in the first, Coach Blair brought Caylinne Martin in for Ciera Johnson. With the bench playing, LSU was able to erase the lead and get ahead on a layup by Khayla Pointer. Martin tied it at 14 with a jumper in the paint and the first quarter ended with the score tied.

Coach Blair gambled that Carter could avoid a third foul and started her to begin the second quarter. After LSU scored first, Carter took the lead back for the Ags with a 3 pointer and a nice assist to Kayla Wells on a fast break. But it seemed like the Ags played a lot of zone to protect Carter from fouls and it resulted in scoring opportunities for LSU, who were also outrebounding the Ags. The Tigers would go up by 6 as it seemed like Poynter was beating the D down the court in non-turnover situations.

Halftime score LSU 31, Ags 25. It was odd to see such a low scoring total for A&M when they were shooting 41.4% from the field. The problem was that they only had 29 FGA in the half and were not getting to the FT line, despite only committing 6 turnovers. LSU was shooting a lower % (35.1%) but had 37 FGA and were 3-4 from the FT line.

LSU would continue to outplay the Ags to start the 3rd quarter, stretching the lead to 10 on a jumper by Faustine Aifuwa with 6:13 to go. But the Ags kept it close and eventually cut the lead to just 4 at the end of the period.

On the first possession of the 4th, Carter hit Wells with a perfect cross court pass to allow Kayla to drain a 3 pointer. Suddenly it was a 1 point game. The teams traded baskets and misses and with 6:48 remaining N’dea Jones stole the ball and Carter ran out for a layup and the first A&M lead of the second half. Ayana Mitchell retook the lead for LSU on a fast break where Carter committed her 4th foul trying to block the layup (not a good idea). Mitchell couldn’t convert the 3 point play. Neither team could score until 3:45 when Jones got the ball from Carter at the high post and drove straight down the lane for a layup and a 52-51 lead.

Shanice Norton missed a pull up J from the right of the lane with the shot clock running out and 2:34 remaining. Jones grabbed the rebound and passed ahead to Carter, who went up the right side and saw Wells running down to the left of the lane. Carter threw a bounce pass to Wells, who was fouled by Pointer going up for a layup. Both Pointer and Wells wound up on lying on the court. Wells grabbed her legs as her calves were cramping. Carter did a heads up move by telling the trainers to not come on to the floor, which would have required substitution for Wells before the FTs. As her teammates tried to massage out the cramps, Blair called a timeout, which was spent trying to get Kayla mobile again. After the timeout, Kayla limped to the FT line and hit both.

Aifuwa cut the lead to 54-53. After the teams traded empty possessions, Sham Washington found Carter in the left corner after Chennedy had run her defender off multiple screens on the baseline. Carter threaded her way to the basket around a screen by Jones and made a short jumper while being fouled by Mitchell. Carter missed the FT that would make it a 2 possession game, but Ciera Johnson knocked the rebound off Shanice Norton’s leg and out of bounds. Aggies ball with 58.1 seconds left. LSU had fouls to give and forced a second inbounds play. The Ags ran the clock down and tried to find Wells in the right corner. LSU got a finger on the ball and forced another inbounds play with 33.9 seconds left and just 9 n the shot clock. Washington got the ball in to Johnson who kicked it out to Jones. Jones passed to Wells on the right side and Kayla drove the baseline. She was too deep under the backboard to shoot but found Johnson sneaking in behind the defenders watching Wells. Ciera got the layup to make it 58-53 with 26.8 left. The next LSU possession had several opportunities before Jada Walton wound up on the floor with a held ball. Wells would add a FT and LSU would hit a jumper with 0.1 second left.

Final Score: Ags 59 LSU 55

  • Kayla Wells would lead the Ags with 16 points. She was 5-6 from the FT line. Carter finished with 15 points; Johnson had 12.
  • N’dea Jones was 2 points shy of a double double but grabbed 15 rebounds. The Ags were still outrebounded by LSU as Aifuwa and Mitchell has 11 and 12 boards, respectively.
  • Sham Washington had 6 assists. After going 0-7 shooting in the first half, she was 3-4 after the intermission.
  • Coach Blair emphasized taking care of the ball and the Ags only turned it over 7 times.
  • Khayla Pointer led all scorers with 21 points.

Up Next

  • #5 Mississippi State Bulldogs
  • Sunday Feb 17, 2019 1PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • TV: SEC Network Radio: 1620 AM

Until Thursday night, the #5 Bulldogs had only lost once, in the only game where they trailed in the 4th quarter. That was against #3 Oregon, in Eugene. Playing at home against Mizzou, most expected Clanga to extend their 26 game SEC regular season win streak, especially when Sophie Cunningham was a gametime decision on whether or not to play after being sick all day. She had several IVs and played.

But that’s why they play the games. Mizzou frustrated Teaira McCowan and got Anriel Howard in foul trouble. Anriel still put in 21 points before fouling out late in the game. Miss State’s senior guards didn’t have a good night: Jordan Danberry had 6 points on 3-11 shooting and turned it over 6 times. Jazmun Holmes went 1-4 for 3 points and had 4 turnovers. UConn transfer Andra Espinosa-Hunter did better, scoring 12 on 5-13 shooting, including a couple of 3s. Overall the Bulldogs committed 18 turnovers.

Was the offense the problem, though? The Secretary of Defense’s team allowed Mizzou to shoot 55.1% from the field, including 11-26 on 3 pointers. In some ways this is reminiscent of what Oregon can do. Double and triple team McCowan and shoot a lot of 3s. That’s probably not how A&M can attack MSU.

Is MSU losing good or bad for Sunday’s matchup? Who knows. The Bulldogs will come in with extra motivation - but did they need any beyond Anriel’s return to Reed and another matchup between Vic and his old mentor? Is seeing that MSU is beatable help the Ags? Who knows?

Likely starters

  • #15 6-7 Sr C Teaira McCowan averages a double-double (17 ppg 13.7 rpg) and is a major intimidator in the paint. She’s blocked 63 shots and altered many more.
  • #5 5-11 Gr Tr F Anriel Howard is just behind McCowan in scoring at 15.8 ppg. Her rebounding is down due to McCowan’s presence. She averaged 12.2 rebounds/game last year for the Ags. She’s at 7.9 for MSU. Anriel was 12/39 from 3 point distance last season for A&M. She’s shooting from beyond the arc more this year and is 18-56.
  • #24 5-8 Sr Tr G Jordan Danberry averages 13 ppg
  • #10 5-8 Sr G Jazzmun Holmes leads in assists
  • #2 5-11 So Tr G Andra Espinosa-Hunter has started recently as Vic tries to find a replacement for Chloe Bibby, who is out for the season with a knee injury. BreAmber Scott has also been tried. AEH seems to be more aggressive about taking shots from distance.