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WBB: Ags fall in OT to Mizzou

A win that got away

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri vs Georgia
Mizzou Coach Robin Pingeton and star Sophie Cunningham halted the A&M win streak on Thursday night.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Women’s Bouncy Ball team went to chilly Columbia, MO, where the University was closed due to weather, to face a Mutigers team that was coming off a bad road loss at LSU, but who are undefeated in SEC play at home.

The Ags scored first, but the Tigers dominated the first quarter as Sophie Cunningham scored 8 points in a row on a pair of 3s around a layup. Mizzou would get the lead to 9 before the Ags and Carter closed the gap to 15-10 by the end of the first quarter. The Ags missed 15 FGA in the quarter.

A&M’s defense focused on taking away Cunningham after the middle of the first quarter and the Mizzou star didn’t take another shot for the rest of the half. Despite foul trouble for Ciera Johnson, the Ags heated up in the second period. Mizzou’s strategy was to dare Kayla Wells to shoot from distance, and Kayla and Carter would erase the Missouri lead and open a 28-22 A&M advantage by midway through the quarter. But Mizzou fought back led by Amber Smith and held a 34-32 advantage at halftime. Carter had 20 points at the break.

After giving up a turnover fast break on the first possession, the Ags settled down and looked like they were taking control in the third quarter. A 3 pointer by Wells cut the lead to 1 with 7:53 remaining. Another at the 6:17 mark gave A&M the lead at 42-40. Mizzou stayed stuck on 40 as Carter and Wells stretched the lead to 8 before Jordan Roundtree scored for the Tigers. The Ags would stretch the lead to 10 with 42 seconds to go in the third on FTs from Jones and Carter. A late 3 pointer by Lauren Aldridge made it 52-45 Ags going into the final quarter.

Turnovers and misses allowed Mizzou to start the final period with a 7-0 run (10-0 if we include the last 3 pointer in the 3rd). The Ags finally found Ciera Johnson inside for a pair of baskets to tie the score at 57 with 3:03 remaining. The teams exchanged stops before Cunningham scored inside with 1:35 left. Jones countered with a layup of her own but couldn’t convert the FT for a 3 point play. With 56 seconds left ,the Ags turned Cunningham over, leading to a fast break J for Wells to take a 61-59 lead. Akira Levy tied it at 61 with 35 seconds left.

The Ags set up to run the shot clock down to take the last shot. Carter shot and missed with 9 seconds remaining and Amber Smith grabbed the rebound for Mizzou. The Tigers called timeout to advance the inbounds play, which went inside to Amber Smith in the paint. But Carter stole the ball and passed ahead to Wells. Wells pulled up to take a short jumper for the buzzer beating winning shot… and missed.

The overtime began with Mizzou scoring the first 5 points as the A&M offense struggled to get good looks. The Ags were able to cut it to 3 twice in the final seconds, but it was too late. A&M was forced to foul Cunningham and she made her FTs to ice the OT win.

  • Carter would finish with 29 points in the losing effort. Toward the end, though, it seemed like the offense became stagnant and dependent on her ability to create shots for herself. She missed a string of consecutive FG attempts to drop her final shooting stats to 3-12 in the second half.
  • Kayla Wells had 18 points in an effort that ran hot and cold. Ciera Johnson scored 10, but was limited by foul trouble. N’dea Jones had 12 rebounds and blocked 5 shots but went 1-7 from the field. Sham Washington played all 45 minutes. The good news was no turnovers. But she was also 1-7 and had just 2 assists.
  • With Jada Walton confined to the hotel with a fever, and foul trouble throughout the game, Caylinne Martin, Cheah Real-Whitsett, Jasmine Williams, and A’ja Ellison all saw significant playing time.
  • The Ags outrebounded Mizzou but only by 47-46.
  • Sophie Cunningham was quiet after the first quarter until crunch time. Between the 4th quarter and the OT she scored 10 of her team-leading 22 points. But the supporting cast really stepped up for Mizzou: Amber Smith had 18 points, while Aldridge and Jordan Roundtree each had 9.

This was a game the Ags could have won, not just on the last shot in regulation but by having a better offensive answer to the Mizzou run to start the 4th quarter. But credit Mizzou for seizing the momentum and the win.

Up Next

A&M gets a bye this weekend and a chance to recover. Then

  • LSU Tigers
  • Thursday Feb 14, 2019 6:30 PM
  • Reed Arena
  • SECN+ streaming 1150AM/102.7FM
  • BTHO Breast Cancer Game

Since beating the Ags in Baton Rouge, LSU has had an up and down record like much of the middle of the SEC, going 4-4 for an overall 5-5 record in the conference. They’re on a 2 game win streak, having dominated Mizzou in Baton Rouge and taken care of Arkansas on Thursday night. Their losses have come to ranked S. Carolina, Kentucky, and Miss State, with the only loss to an unranked team being to Tennessee in Knoxville.