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WBB: #5 Miss State overwhelms the Ags

Bulldogs get seven three-pointers from Espinosa-Hunter

Ags on D vs Miss State
jimhu’s iphone

The Women’s Bouncy Ball Team couldn’t keep up with #5 Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon and suffered the worst margin of defeat of the season.

The game started with some hope for a good crowd at Reed Arena. Backup post Caylinne Martin drew a second foul on All-everything center Teaira McCowan with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter and A&M down 18-15. For the remainder of the quarter, the Ags, led by Carter, outscored the Bulldogs 9-2 for a 24-20 lead. The teams traded baskets in to start the second quarter and when Anriel Howard went to the bench with just under 8 minutes remaining the Ags were still up 28-24.

This seemed like a point where A&M should have been able to go inside and build the lead in hopes of hanging on in the second half. But instead, the MSU guards took over while backup post Jessika Carter held her own. Jordan Danberry took a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for a 3 point play when Sham Washington was late trying to draw a charge. That sent Sham to the bench with 2 fouls. Then Myah Taylor went coast to coast for a layup. These weren’t long rebounds; the MSU players just beat the entire Aggie D down the floor. Oddly Blair didn’t bring Ciera Johnson back onto the floor until 6:30 with the score tied at 29.

After Kayla Wells turned it over on what might have been a non-call, MSU found Andra Espinosa Hunter (aka AEH) wide open on the right side for a 3 pointer. After a Carter miss, Danberry went coast to coast again. Timeout Blair. It was a 14-1 run before Carter got her 20th point on a pull up jumper. But Carter’s shooting had been off after a hot first quarter and MSU was denying the post really well. After Carter scored, Breamber Scott his a corner 3 to make if 39-31. Neither team could score from the floor until third string post Zion Campbell found herself open for a layup as two defenders went to guard Danberry. FTs from both teams made it 43-36 at half.

Carter had 20 points at halftime. Kayla Wells had 8 and Sham Washington 4. Despite not having to deal with McCowan and Howard for long stretches of the half, Jones (0-2) and Johnson (0-5) were unable to score from the field. Miss State was led by Danberry with 11 while Espinosa-Hunter added 9 on 3-7 shooting, all from 3.

The second half started N’dea Jones grabbing a rebound on a miss and finding Kayla Wells running out for a layup. Wells missed the FT that would have made it a 3 point play. Anriel Howard answered with a 3 pointer. Carter got it to 6 with a coast to coast layup. Then Espinoza-Hunter hit her 4th 3 pointer. Sham Washington cut it to 7. But MSU found AEH at the top of the key for her 5th 3 and it was a double digit deficit. After the teams traded baskets Carter came up short on a layup and AEH hit another to make it 57-44. Media timeout called by A&M. 5:58 left in the 3rd.

With 5:02 to go Carter got called for a foul blocking a shot by McCowan. The refs called a double technical on McCowan and Carter presumably based on the jawing that happened after the play - there was no pushing or shoving. McCowan went to the bench again, but MSU stretched the lead to 18 several times, and led by 70-52 by the end of the quarter. Carter committed her 4th on a reach in before the end of the quarter.

If you had told me before the game that McCowan would only have 4 points after 3 quarters I would have thought the score would be closer.

With an 18 point deficit and Carter starting the quarter on the bench with 4 fouls, the game was basically over. The drama in the final period came from a pair of technical fouls. The first was on Blair for complaining about the lack of calls in the paint. The second came after Carter scored her 28th point on a coast to coast drive where Carter thought that she was fouled by Anriel and said something about it as the Ags went back on defense (narrator: she was fouled by Howard).

  • Chennedy Carter had 28 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 turnovers, and a blocked shot before getting tossed with her second technical.
  • Miss State was led by AEH with 24 points on 7 3 pointers and 3 FTs on the technical fouls. She shot 50% from the fields overall and was 7-11 from behind the arc. Espinosa-Hunter has a really quick release on her shot. The Ags playing a 2-3 zone designed to neutralize McCowan gave her open looks. Jordan Danberry also had a strong game with 16 points. Anriel contributed 19, but I felt like Howard and McCowan got a bunch of late stats after the others had taken control of the game.
  • Miss State outrebounded the Ags 47-32. This was especially bad on the offensive glass where we got to watch Anriel Howard swoop in for the kinds of offensive boards she used to collect for us. Overall MSU won the offensive glass by 21-10.
  • The overall shooting percentages were not so different: 44% to 41% for Miss State. But combine 75 vs 51 FGA with 9-20 vs 2-7 from 3 and you get a blowout loss. A&M did have an advantage in FTs, going 20-32 vs 17-22.

There are plenty of things the coaches will have to work on and plenty of online overreaction to getting blown out. But that’s what happens sometimes when you play the team that’s heavily favored; they’re heavily favored for a reason.

Up Next

  • Tennessee Lady Vols
  • Thursday Feb 21, 2019 8PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • SEC Network 1150AM

Like most of the SEC teams, the Lady Vols had to deal with the loss of several of their best players in the offseason. Center Mercedes Russell and Forward Jaime Nared graduated and both were drafted by WNBA teams. Russell and Nared were the top 2 scorers last year. Freshman Guard Anastasia Hayes was kicked off the team at the end of the summer.

Still, the talent at Tennessee had preseason predictions picking the Lady Vols for 3rd in the SEC and #11 nationally. They stayed high in the rankings through the Fall, losing only to then #8 Stanford. Before that the Lady Vols had defeated OK State and Texas. Their record had them in the top 10 after the SEC opener, a win vs Auburn.

Then they went off the rails. Tennessee suffered a 6 game losing streak that dropped them completely out of the Top 25 and put them on the bubble for the NCAA tourney. They won 3 games before getting blown out by Miss State in Starkville. They got another win vs Auburn and then got some help from the refs, who missed an obvious kicked ball at the end, in beating Mizzou in Columbia on Sunday afternoon.

Likely starters

  • #2 6-0 So Evina Westbrook has been the team leader this year, averaging 15.7 ppg and leading the team in assists while running the point. Westbrook on the all-SEC freshman team last season, and was a preseason All-Conference pick.
  • #0 6-2 So Rennia Davis was expected to have a big year this season. After starting slow, she’s picked it up recently. Overall she averages 14.7 ppg and is the leading rebounder at 8/gm. She was a preseason all-Conference pick and made various national watch lists.
  • #15 6-3 RS Sr Cheridene Green has started every game. She average 8.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg.
  • #14 6-0 Fr G Zaay Green is averaging 10.9 ppg. She’s played in every game. Coach Blair spoke about how we recruited the Duncanville native.
  • #1- 5-11 Sr G/F Meme Jackson averages 11.5 ppg.