The Women’s Bouncy Ball team came out refocused after Sunday’s bad loss to Mississippi State and demolished a Tennessee team that has been trying to make a late season run of their own. The Lady Vols came in having won 5 of their last 6 games to go from the wrong side of the bubble in ESPN’s women’s bracketology to a 9 seed in Charlie Creme’s last prediction. The Ags, meanwhile, have been predicted as a 5 seed and are hoping the loss to MSU didn’t kill our chances of hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
The first quarter was a tight back and forth struggle. The Ags scored first but the offense struggled against the Tennessee zone early. That allowed the Lady Vols to be up 14-11 with 1:40 left in the opening period. But Tennessee left Kayla Wells open and #11 drained a 3 to tie the game. N’dea Jones stole the ball from Westbrook, leading to a Carter 3 point play the old-fashioned way and suddenly A&M was up 3. Cheridene Green cut it to 17-16 A&M as the period ended. Ciera Johnson picked up 2 quick fouls at the end of the first and had to sit the rest of the half.
Wells would be the story of the second quarter. Rennia Davis regained the lead for Tennessee at 20-19 at 8:51. On the next possession Wells hit a 3 to regain the lead. After a Carter score, Zaay Green cut A&M’s lead to 24-22. Wells hit another 3 to make it +5. Mimi Collins made it 29-28 at 3:06. The next score by either team? A 3 pointer from Wells. Cheridene Green cut it to 32-30 with 1:45 left in the half. Neither team could score until A&M got the ball with 13 seconds left and held for the last shot. With 3 seconds left, Sham Washington hit a 3 pointer - assisted by Wells.
Halftime score Ags 35 Lady Vols 30. The Ags held an edge in rebounds at 24-22. Tenn had a slightly higher FG% (39.4% vs 38.9%) but were 1-5 from beyond the arc while the Ags were 5-14. Wells had 16 points on 6-10 shooting and 4 3s. Carter had 10 points but was inefficient at 4-15 (0.5 from 3).
Rennia Davis opened the 3rd quarter by cutting the lead to 3 but it was all A&M after that. From that score to the 4:57 mark, A&M outscored Tennessee 12-2 to take a 49-34 lead. The Ags would stretch the lead to 20 by the end of the quarter, outscoring Tennessee 27-12. Along the way, A&M had a 12-0 edge in points off turnovers, including several times when Carter made good defensive plays that were helped by inattentive Tennessee offense.
In between the 3rd and 4th quarters, a fan actually hit the half court shot for cash.
The Ags lost a bit of their focus to start the final period and Blair (who had not shed his jacket until the 4th quarter) called time out after Tennessee cut the lead to 15 at 64-49 with 7:48 remaining. After the timeout, A&M reasserted its dominance and got the lead up to 23 with 4 minutes remaining. Tennessee would get it below 20 as Blair started to empty the bench near the end.
Final Score Ags 79 Lady Vols 62.
- Kayla Wells led all scorers with a career high 29 points. Her 5 3-pointers in a game were also a career high. Kayla scored 13 in the 3rd quarter.
- Chennedy Carter finished with 28 points and 3 steals. After an inefficient first half, Carter was 8-11 in the second. This was the 33rd straight game Carter has had double figures in scoring. Danielle Adams did it in 32 games during the National Championship season 2010-11.
- Sham Washington was the unsung hero as Wells and Carter got a lot of attention from the SEC Network commentators. Sham had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists (career high), and just one turnover. She also played excellent defense in the 2-3 zone.
- N’dea Jones had 10 rebounds. That makes 5 straight games and 17 times this season she’s had 10 or more.
- Evina Westbrook led Tennessee with 17 points. Cheridene Greene and Rennia Davis were also in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Greene’s 11 points were part of a double-double with 12 rebounds.
- Players and coaches talked about how the Miss State loss caused the team to increase their intensity in practice.
- This was the second game the Ags have worn the Harlem Renaissance uniforms.
- The win got A&M to 20-6 so far. That means Coach Blair has guided the Ags to 14 straight 20+ win seasons. The longest active streak in the SEC belongs to Tennessee, who are currently 17-9. The Lady Vols will probably have to avoid early exits in the SEC and NCAA tournaments to keep that streak going.
With only a few regular season games remaining it’s time to add a section on how the SEC tournament is shaping up. Coming into tonight, Miss State and S. Carolina were tied at the top and the Ags and Kentucky were tied for third. With Kentucky the underdog playing at S. Carolina, the expectation was that there would be a tie for first and an A&M win would give us 3rd place alone. Instead, the Cats upset the Gamecocks to give Miss State the outright lead. A&M and Kentucky remain tied for 3rd with Mizzou, who had a bye, a game back. The Ags and Cats play in Lexington next week.
Nationally, the Ags entered Thurs night ranked #21, gaining a spot despite the big loss to Miss State. This is based on teams from other conferences getting upset during the same week.
- Florida Gators
- Monday February 25, 2019 6PM CST
- Exactech Arena, Gainesville, FL
- TV: SEC Network Radio 1150AM/102.7FM
Florida is still a rebuilding project for second year coach Cam Neubauer. The Gators are 6-20 overall and 2-11 in the SEC. Florida, Ole Miss, and Vandy have been at the bottom of the SEC all year. Florida provided Ole Miss with one of it’s conference wins and have not played Vandy yet. So the Gators two wins were upsets against Mizzou and Bama.
This means that Florida looks like a trap game for A&M. We’re coming off a big win and have a short week between the Monday night game with the Gators and an important road game with Kentucky on Thursday. A&M struggled to beat Florida at home last year. But some key seniors from that team graduated.
Nevertheless, A&M should be favored. Likely starters for Florida:
- #3 5-8 RS Sr G Funda Nakkasoglu averages 16.3 ppg
- #11 5-10 Fr G Emanuely de Oliviera averages 3.7 ppg but had double digits vs Georgia.
- #0 5-10 Jr G Delicia Washington averages 10.2 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 7.7/gm
- #12 6-2 Rs Jr F Zada Williams averages 7.9 ppg
- #1 5-10 So G Kiara Smith leads in assists. She scores 7.2 ppg. She leads the team in steals.
We might see more minutes than usual from #44 6-4 Jr F Paige Robinson to neutralize our size in the paint. Robinson averages 13.3 min/game. The only other player above 6-2 is Emer Nichols, who transferred from A&M and is sitting out this season.
As a team, Florida is shooting a lot of 3s and averaging 16.2 turnovers per game.