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WBB: Ags are first to 4

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The Women's Bouncy Ball Team returned to Aggieland to defend Reed Arena in the 2014-15 home opener. The Ags were too much for the Rice Owls as Courtney Walker joined the 1,000 point club.

Courtney Walker led the Ags again with 18 points
Courtney Walker led the Ags again with 18 points
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Despite coming out of Chicago with a 3-0 record, the Ags dropped a spot in the USA Today Coaches poll due to then #6 Stanford's OT win over then #1 UConn. The wins on DePaul's home court were recognized at Reed before the tip, Jordan Jones and Courtney Walker were honored for their making the All-Tourney Team in last weekend's Maggie Dixon Classic. Walker was also the tourney MVP.

The Ags started Jada Terry, Achiri Ade, Tori Scott, Walker and Jones. A&M scored the first 4 points of the game and never surrendered the lead. Rice had a few runs, including an 8-0 run late in the first half to cut a 29-17 lead to 29-25. The Owls crossed up Coach Blair's predictions by playing man defense to start the game. They switched to zone midway through the first half and used a variety of zone looks with stretches of man-to-man throughout the game. Walker's 1000th point of her career came with 5 seconds left in the half as the Ags ran down the clock for a final score before the intermission. Halftime score: Ags 37, Rice 27.

The good news was that A&M's D continued to be stingy. Rice shot only 24.4% in the first half and hit only 1 of 8 3-pointers. The Ags also got the turnovers under control. But A&M the main reason the margin wasn't larger despite the Ags shooting 50% from the field was that the Ags got outrebounded by the smaller Owls 27-7, including way too many offensive boards.

All three posts played in the first half. Khaalia Hillsman started the second half but Coach Blair used all three in the second half as well. The Owls hung in for a long time keeping the lead at about 9-11 points, but not being able to get closer. The Ags rebounded better after the break, but only enough to close the final margin to 42-40. After the 7:48 timeout it seemed that foul trouble and fatigue finally caught up with the Owls, and the Ags stretched the lead to 23 points, finishing with a 21 point 76-55 win.

Walker led A&M in scoring with 18 points in 36 minutes. Jordan Jones had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists (and only 3 turnovers).  Achiri Ade also scored in double digits getting 10 points and 7 rebounds. Ade played with great energy. Overall 11 Ags played, all 11 scored, and all 11 snagged at least one rebound. Chelsea Jennings didn't dress for the game due to a minor illness; she was on the bench in sweats. The turnovers were way down compared to the games in Chicago; the Ags had only 10 giveaways to go with 18 assists. As Coach Starkey said after the game, the assists could have been higher if our rebounding had been good enough to get more fast breaks. Fast break points were lacking in the Maggie Dixon games; despite Coach Starkey's desire for more the Ags did improve to getting 15 points on fast breaks.

Coach Blair pointed out that he is actually getting comparable production from his three inexperienced posts compared to what he got from the position last year. Combined, Jada, Khaalia, and Rachel Mitchell scored 14, grabbed 10 boards, and blocked 2 shots. Rachel clearly had her best game of the young season, getting 6 points, 3 boards, and a block in 11 minutes of play. Rachel's scoring was on a pair of free throws and a putback and a nice post move. Khaalia also showed some nice moves in the paint for her 6 points on 3/5 shooting from the field.

Rice improved their shooting in the second half, but only to 39.3%. The Owls were led by Jasmine Goodwine's 12 points on 3-12 shooting plus 6 FTs. I was impressed by Rice's intensity against the deeper and more talented Ags.

Up Next

  • Prairie View A&M Panthers
  • Monday Nov 24 7PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • SECN+
I had heard from one of my WBB experts that the Lady Panthers were improved this year. PVAMU won the SWAC tourney last season, giving them the honor of being the first team in the NCAA tourney to play UConn. They've started the season 0-2 with double-digit losses to Rice and SFA. After playing the Ags, the Panthers go to Hawaii, where they get Hawaii, UNC, and Stanford. The Lady Panthers return several starters from last year's tourney team, including leading scorer Jeanette Jackson, a 5-7 Sr G from Las Vegas. Jackson had 27 in the loss to SFA.