NCAA tournament games aren’t won with style points. The only objective is win and advance. It took a gritty, gutsy fight for the Aggie women’s basketball team to punch its ticket to the Sweet Sixteen, but they proved to be up to the task, pulling out an 82-84 victory over Iowa State in overtime. Jordan Nixon’s buzzer beater kept the Ags’ season alive, capping another outstanding performance for Nixon who led the team to another close victory to avoid an opening round upset by 15 seed Troy on Monday night.
After the Cyclones opened the scoring with a three pointer 26 seconds into the game, the Aggies would spend the next 39 minutes and 29 seconds grinding through Iowa State’s 3 point barrage to finally even the game with 5 seconds remaining. ISU opened the game with a hot streak from behind the arc, hitting 6 of 7 threes to take a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter, 22-12. Coach Gary Blair’s Aggies ramped up their defensive pressure in the second quarter, forcing six turnovers and blocking three shots to cut the halftime deficit to just five points, 35-30
The third quarter highlighted the contrasting offensive styles of the two teams. Texas A&M began to impose their will and physically dominate the interior, scoring 16 points from the paint. However, Iowa State’s perimeter shooting picked up again, taking 10 of their 13 field goal attempts from behind the arc and extending the lead to as many as 12 points late in the period. At the end of the third quarter, Iowa State held a 57-48 lead.
The Aggies’ defense once again created their offensive opportunities in the fourth quarter, forcing six more ISU turnovers and blocking four more shots. The pressure enabled Texas A&M to tie the game at 75-75 with just 5 seconds reminaing. Ashley Joens, the Cyclones’ All American Honorable Mention forward, had two layup chances to win the game in the final seconds, but both attempts were blocked by the Aggies, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period, Jordan Nixon scored 7 of the Ags’ 9 points, including a three pointer on the Aggies’ opening possession of the extra frame. After trading the lead back and forth, Nixon hit a driving jumper in the lane to even the score at 82-82. Joens had an opportunity to put the Cyclones in front with a layup, but the attempt was blocked by Ciera Johnson of Texas A&M. Nixon gathered the rebound with just 7 seconds remaining, drove 80 feet, and put up a running jumper from 10 feet. The ball bounced off the backboard then the rim, falling through the net as the buzzer sounded with Nixon standing defiantly under the hoop admiring her handiwork as her teammates rushed the floor to mob her in celebration.
Jordan Nixon finished the game with a career high 35 points and seven assists. Ciera Johnson added 19 of her own from the inside, and the Aggies’ all-time leading rebounder N’dea Jones pulled down 14 boards. Nixon’s postgame interview with Holly Rowe was an especially poignant and emotional moment that captivated a national television audience.
The Aggies move on to face 3 seed Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen on Saturday at 7:00 PM CT. For any Aggies wanting to make the trek to the Alamodome in San Antonio to support Gary Blair’s squad, tickets are available.