We went extra early to take advantage of the free champagne flutes for the first 500 fans in honor of 40 years of women's sports at TAMU and noticed that Coach was watching warmups from the far end of the bench and not schmoozing with the crowd and giving out candy the way he usually does.
In the true spirit of the 12th Man, I had to step up for Coach Blair
- Associate HC Kelly Bond-White
While Coach Bond-White ran the team, Coach Blair stayed at the far end of the bench, where he was used for a few in-game one-one one tutoring sessions with his charges.
The Ags went with a starting lineup of Khaalia Hillsman, Achiri Ade, Courtney Williams, Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones. It was a bizarre start as A&M began the game in a 2-3 zone, while the Mean Green played man-to-man defense. Whether it was jet lag or a hangover from a bad performance, the Ags started very slowly, falling behind UNT 8-5 by the first timeout at 11:45 of the opening period. The Ags went back to man D when Curtyce Knox subbed in for Courtney Walker. A&M's offense was terrible to start the game almost halfway through the first period the Ags were shooting 17% from the field. The fact that UNT was only up 10-9 at the 11:08 mark reflected how the Mean Green aren't very good. The game turned around with Knox, Chelsea Jennings, and Tori Scott coming off the bench to raise the energy level. Jenning had a particularly strong first half, scoring 10 points off of penetration, steals, and a putback.
Although all the posts got playing time in the first half, the Ags went with their small lineups for significant parts of the half. In addition to the version where Achiri Ade plays the 5, there was a really unusual group where Tavarsha Scott-Williams played the post with Ade, Tori, Chelsea, and Curtyce on the floor with her.
After trailing 10-9 the Ags outscored UNT to take the lead at half by 35-18. As the Ags were on their run, UNT coach Mike Peterson got called for a technical foul after arguing a call.
Scott and Jennings earned the second half start with their play in the first half. After trading a couple of buckets the Ags went on 10-0 run to make the score 54-22. UNT had used 3 timeouts in the first half, and burned two more early in the second half. I had not really thought about NCAA timeout rules, and didn't realize that they're different depending on whether the game is televised/streamed or not. Being on SECN+ meant that the teams get one fewer timeout than in a non-televised game:
In American college basketball, there are two systems of timeouts used. In games that are not broadcast, each team is allowed four 75-second and two 30-second timeouts per regulation game. In games which are broadcast on television, radio, or over the Internet, each team is granted one 60-second timeout and four 30-second timeouts per game in addition to the media timeouts (at the first dead ball under 16, 12, 8 and 4 minutes remaining in each half). A maximum of three 30-second timeouts may carry over into the second half. In NCAA women's basketball only, any called timeout that occurs within the 30 seconds prior to a scheduled media timeout break automatically takes the place of the upcoming media timeout, with the only exception to this rule being the first called timeout of the second half.Wikipedia
This meant that a Chris Webber situation arose when UNT's BreAnna Dawkins tried to call timeout on a loose ball on the floor in order to avoid JJ creating a held ball going to the Ags. UNT got its second tech of the day and Taylor Cooper sank two FTs to make the lead 62-27.
Allison Chu came in near the end and got her third point of the year by going 1/2 from the line. Chu also got her first assist of the year on the last bucket of the game, a jumper by Jada Terry.
Final score: 75-38
The bench contributed 40 points: Jennigs' 10, all in the first half, Curtyce added 8, while Tori and Taylor each had 6. Walker led all scorers with 12, mostly in the second half. With 3 games in 5 days including the travel to Seattle and back, it was nice that none of the starters played more than 27 minutes.
As expected, the Ags dominated the stats. After starting really cold, A&M wound up shooting 45.7% from the field. The Ags held the Mean Green to 24.6% from the field. However, as Asst Coach Amy Wright noted in the post-game while A&M won the battle of the boards, it was only by 46-41. The Ags turned over the Mean Green 26 times and had 14 steals. There were a couple of times where Ags just took the ball away from UNT guards. Curtyce led the team in steals with 4. 9 different Ags got at least one swipe.
Up Next: SEC play starts
- 7 PM CST Friday Jan 2 2015
- Reed Arena
The Ags start SEC play by hosting the Commodores on Friday night. The 8-4 Dores will be more rested, having last played on Monday, edging James Madison 66-61at home. Vandy is probably stronger than their W-L record indicates, as they just got back a couple of players from injuries, but they are rebuilding after graduating oustanding guards Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister from last year's team. This year's leading scorer by average is forward 6-0 Jr F Heather Bowe, who is averaging 12 ppg, but has their usual collection of guards. Probable starters:
- #21 6-0 Jr F Heather Bowe. Bowe is the leader in pts/g but she must have had injury issues as she's only played in 4 games this season, starting 2.
- #24 6-1 RS So F Kristen Gaffney
- #1 5-9 RS Fr G Rebekah Dahlman. Dahlman is the only other starter averaging in double figures with 10.3 ppg.
- #25 5-10 Jr G Morgan Batey. Batey is averaging 9.6 ppg and leads the team in minutes played. She was a problem for the Ags last year in Nashville, scoring 17 points, including the game winner.
- #3 5-10 Fr G Rachel Bell
Who will actually start is not clear, as 10 different players have started at least 3 games. The Commodores have 6-3 Fr Quebecois twins Audrey and Khaleann Caron-Goudrou on the roster, but Khaleann is out for the season with an ankle injury suffered in practice. Audrey may start vs the Ags; she was one of the players whose first game back was vs JMU, and she played 31 minutes off the bench.
Vandy is averaging 66.2 ppg and giving up 62.8. They've only played one ranked opponent so far, gettiing blown out by UConn on Nov 29 on a neutral court. The Commodores are getting outrebounded by their opponents and are giving up an average of 20.3 turnovers.
This should be a winnable game, but the Ags have to play better than they did in the last two games to avoid Vandy sneaking out of Reed with an upset. Holiday Hoops $4 tickets are still in effect, so if you are in town, come to Reed and support the team as we start SEC play.