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WBB: Rattled in Seattle

The Women's Bouncy Ball team went to the left coast to recover from a tough loss to Texas. But instead they got ambushed by an underrated Washington team to fall to 11-2.

UW's Kelsey Plum had 32 in the Huskies upset win over the Ags
UW's Kelsey Plum had 32 in the Huskies upset win over the Ags
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies started the season 10-1 and were on a 10 game win streak coming into the game. The Ags were able to do some tourist activities in Seattle, and met with Becky Gates. After shootaround, they were able to watch the Liberty Bowl win by the football team and do some

First Half

The Ags started Rachel Mitchell in the post. Washington's perimeter game led Coach Blair to keep Achiri Ade coming off the bench, so Courtney Walker and Tori Scott filled out the front line, with Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones taking their regular backcourt spots. After Rachel got a quick first bucket to give A&M its only lead the Ags went colder than a dead salmon at Pike's Peak Market. UW went on an 8-0 run before CWill broke the drought. The Ags then went on a 6-0 run to tie it up. But UW came right back with another 8-0 run including long three-pointers from Talia Walton and Kelsey Plum.

The Huskies had a 12 point lead halfway through the period and the lead hung around that for most of the half, stretching it to a 13 point lead before Coach called a timeout with 3:35 to go in the half. It got worse as the half came to an end. UW stretched the lead to 17 as Plum hit an old fashioned 3 point play followed by another bomb from Walton. Ade got a FT to cut it to 16 but then UW posted up to get it to 18. The Ags simply couldn't hit anything. UW was playing well on D, and limiting second chances, but it was also just cold shooting.

Halftime score: 40-22 Washington.

Last year's game vs the Ags was the only one where Plum failed to score in double figures. She reached that before halfway into the first half and had 20 at the break. Walton had 16 at half. Despite the output from those two, the Ags held UW to 40% shooting for the half, but shot 25%. CWill let the Ags with 11, but it was on 4-11 shooting from the field. Walker had 4 on 2-6 shooting. JJ was 0-7. Tori was 1-3. It was ugly.

Second half

Coach went even smaller to start the second half, putting Ade in for Mitchell at the post. UW came out and stretched the lead to 20 with the first bucket of the second half. CWill answered with a 3, but then Talia Walton scored 5 points to give the Huskies a 22 point lead. It was a 19 point lead at the 15:58 TV timeout. The Ags used pressing D to cut the lead to 9 by the 9:23 mark when a Walker layup made the score 55-46 after Plum turned it over on an offensive foul. It seemed to me that the Aggie comeback coincided with Coach putting Rachel back in to guard the paint, along with pressing more. But then UW adjusted. Aminah Williams was left open when Rachel went to help on D, and Williams had a run where she scored the next 7 points. That put UW back up by 14 before the next A&M timeout with 6:23 left, and that was pretty much the ball game. UW didn't let up at the end, leaving Plum in to the end.

Final score: 70-49.

While it's bad to lose badly to an unranked team, Washington was on a 10 game win streak and has two potential All-Americans in Plum and Davis, plus a solid team overall. They were receiving votes as of last week, and the dominant upset over the Ags is likely to get them into the polls.

UW's 70 points were actually below their season average. Unfortunately, the Ags were 22 points below our season average of 71.6.

For the home team, Kelsey Plum finished with 32. Talia Walton had 21 and Amina Williams added 9. Williams was 1 point short of a double-double, leading all players with 15 boards. Plum and Walton outscored the Ags on their own.

"They wanted it more. They executed. We knew everything they were going to run and we couldn't stop them."
- Coach Blair

Courtney Williams double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) was wasted in the blowout loss. Courtney Walker and Tori Scott each had 10 points. But none of them was scoring efficiently, and the rest of the team combined for all of 7 points. Jones stats way below her standard: 0-9 from the field. 3 points on 3-5 shooting from the line. 5 assists, 4 turnovers and 4 steals. JJ did cause additional turnovers with defense, but we will need more from her going forward.

The 3-headed post contributed only Rachel's first 2 points. Rachel added 8 boards and 3 blocks. Jada Terry and Khaalia Hillsman's low contributions are partly due to not getting many minutes (3 and 4, respectively). Neither scored and they added 4 rebounds. Achiri Ade played 15 off the bench and was the only bench player to score with 5 points. 5 other Ags were scoreless off the pine. The Huskies only played 2 players off their bench and got only 1 point from Chantel Osahor.

Watching the Pac-12 network broadcast, it seemed to me that in some ways it was just one of those nights: UW was hitting all sorts of low percentage acrobatic shots while the Ags were missing bunnies. But some of that is based on the talent that makes Plum the leading scorer in the Pac-12 and a Wooded Award watch list player. It also seemed to me that while A&M has done better at beating the ubiquitous 2-3 zones that almost everyone plays against us, UW did a much better job of it than most opponents and made the Ags shoot rushed and anxious shots, while limiting putback opportunities. This was true both in their zone and in the man D they started the game with. A&M also never really found the seams that would lead to more foul opportunities. The seams are harder to find when the outside shots are not stretching the D. UW also did a good job of keeping the Ags from being able to run and score before the D was set up.

One thing I sometimes wonder about is whether Coach might be better off forcing other teams to adapt to our bigger lineups rather than going small in response to the other team's strengths. I don't think we ever played our normal lineup with both a post and Ade at the 4, much less any of the twin tower looks he experimented with earlier. The other question is whether we were supposed to be pressing earlier.

There will be lots to look at in the film room and lots to work on in practice based on the last two games

"This team we have is good but we're not great... We've got to get this team to learn there is a fine line between good and great. ... Right now we're the furthest from great as you can be."
- Coach Blair

Note:This is yet another game where the lack of recent WBB pics in the photo libraries available to SBN has me highlighting the opponent's best player. The pic of Kelsey Plum is from last year's upset win vs Stanford.

Up Next

  • North Texas
  • 4PM CDT Wed Dec 31
  • Reed Arena

The Ags return to College Station with little preparation time for the next game, a New Year's Eve afternoon clash with North Texas. The Mean Green are off to a rough start at 1-9, with their only win being a 65-47 victory over UMKC. UNT is averaging only 48.7 ppg vs a relatively weak schedule, while giving up 56 ppg. They've lost to two teams the Ags have already beaten: SMU and Houston. Their strongest opponent so far was probably Oklahoma, who thrashed them 68-39 in Denton. Despite feeling down and jet lagged, this should be a game where the Ags are heavily favored.

The cheap holiday hoops options is in effect, plus there will be other promos. So if you're in town, stop by Reed before going out for New Year's Eve.