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WBB: Buzzer beater lifts the Ags over the Hogs

Achiri Ade had her second straight double-double as the Aggie Women's Bouncy Ball team escaped from Fayetteville with an ugly win to get to 14-2 for the season and 2-0 in the SEC.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams had quick turnarounds after opening the SEC schedule on Friday night. For the Ags it was the 4th game in 7 days. The Ags had to practice Saturday morning and travel later in the day.

First half

The Ags kept the same starting lineup as Coach used against Vandy: Khaalia, Achiri, CWill, CWalk, and JJ. Arkansay changed their starting lineup for the first time this season, putting 6-1 RS Jr F Joey Baily in for 6-0 Jr F Melissa Wolf. Although Arkansas usually plays man D, they opened the game in a 3-2 zone. The Hogs jumped out to a 6-2 lead and Blair subbed Taylor Cooper for Walker after CWalk was called for an early foul. The Ags went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Both teams went to their benches, reflecting the coaches need to deal with fatigue from the SEC openers on Friday. It was 11-10 A&M at the second media timeout at 11:46. Neither team was shooting well and the Ags missed several open layups. At 8:48, Walker committed her second foul and F McKinkey Bostad gave Arkansas a 15-14 lead with 2 FTs. At that point the Ags were shooting 31.6% and the Hogs 27.8%.

The Ags played some 2-3 zone after the 7:23 media timeout. The Ags continued to struggle against the zone but Arkansas wasn't doing much better. The Hogs took a 3 point lead into halftime at 28-25. The Ags first half felt as offensively as bad as in the loss to Washington. The Ags finished the half shooting 10-31 (32.3%) from the field and 0-4 from 3.  Fortunately terrible shot selection by Arkansas kept the game close. The Hogs were 9-31 (29%) from the field and 2-15 from 3. Jessica Jackson was notable for taking inexplicable 3s, often from several feet beyond the arc. She missed on all 7 attempts. Kelsey Brooks led all scorers with 12. CWill led the Ags with 9. Rebounds were dead even with both teams having 22 boards, 7 offensive. The Ags turned it over 5 times while only forcing 2.

Both benches got lots of minutes. Curtyce had 5 points that kept the game close.

Second half

The Ags kept the same starters to begin the second half. Khaalia got a great look on the Ags first possession but missed the bunny. Coach went to a small lineup after Khaalia missed another makable shot in the lane. Arkansas stretched the lead to 32-27 as the Ags turned it over 4 times before the first media timeout with 15:51 to go. The Ags were without a second half FG at that point with the only points coming on 2 FTs by Jones. The Ags first bucket of the second half came on a fast break after an A&M turnover resulted in a missed Arkansas layup. A 3 point play by Ade and a fast break off a Walker steal let the Ags tie the score at 34.

The game was tied at 40 with 8:27 to go. Walker got her 3rd foul a few moments later. The Ags started pushing the ball upcourt faster and took a 41-40 lead when CWill was fouled and made 1 of 2. Walker got her first FG with 8 min to go in the game. Williams got her 3rd foul with 6:35 to go to put both teams in the single bonus.

Jackson finally started hitting from the arc and her second trey gave the Hogs the lead with 4:59 left. CWill tied it back up with a J from the top of the key. Chelsea Jennings drew a charge to get the ball back but Walker couldn't hit. The Ags got a stop and Williams drove to draw the 4th foul on Jackson. The game was tied at 48 as the clock hit 2 minutes to go. Neither team could hit and Coach Blair called timeout with 1:36 left.

Tori missed a 3 but Achiri got the ball back on the possession arrow. CWalk finally hit a pull up in the lane to give the Ags the first to 50 lead. Walker blocked a layup with 42.1 to go but Arkansas got possession. Jackson tied it at 50 by driving the left baseline. Coach Blair called another timeout with 24 seconds to go and 23 left on the shot clock. JJ worked the clock and took a late jumper from the left of the key. Ade got the rebound and put it back in just before the buzzer.

Ags win 52-50.

Random notes

  • Achiri Ade's buzzer beater gave her 10 points to go with 15 boards for her second straight double-double. Achiri has really improved her offensive productivity recently. Her FT shooting is better and she's hit a couple of the FT line FGs that she worked on in the offseason. She remains an aggressive rebounder. Asked afterwards about the big hug she got at the end from Coach Blair, she said "he's been sick, I just didn't want to get no germs". A Baltimore native, Ade was probably happy about yesterday's win by the Ravens.
  • Courtney Williams had another good scoring night, leading the Ags with 18 points on 7-16 shooting.
  • Courtney Walker had another off night from the floor, getting just 7 points on 2-11 shooting. I'm not sure if CWalk got Coach Blair's cold or if she's just in a bit of a slump, but it seems like she's pressing/rushing on offense.
  • Jordan Jones had an OK game but not up to her standards. She had 6 assists and 3 turnovers but only had 4 points on 1-5 shooting.
  • The three-headed post only played 2/3 and it wasn't a good game for our bigs at the 5. Despite starting both halves, Khaalia got quick hooks and only played 5 minutes overall, getting 2 points and 1 rebound. Jada also had 2 points and 1 board in 14 minutes of play. That means that Coach Blair used his small lineup for more than half the game. I'm not sure why Rachel didn't get any PT at all.
  • This was obviously an ugly, ugly win. The Ags ended up shooting just 19-56. A&M won the rebounding battle 42-39 but turned it over more than the Ladybacks 14-12. But it beats the hell outta an ugly loss.
  • Jessica Jackson led the Hogs with 18 points and 10 rebounds but had to take 22 shots (half from 3) to get her points. She ended up being 2-11 from behind the arc. Kelsey Brooks had 15 points but only 6 in the second half. As a team, Arkansas was 16-55 from the field (29.1%) with 4 treys. I felt like better shot selection would have given them the win.
  • The team is going to have dinner at Coach Blair's Arkansas home before returning to College Station

Up Next

A&M has a few days to fix problems... the Ags will not be able to get away with a similar performance in their next game:

  • #8 Tennessee Lady Vols
  • Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Jan 8, 2015 6PM CST
  • SEC Network, KZNE 1150 AM
The Lady Vols are 11-2 but play at Vanderbilt on Monday night before hosting the Ags Tennessee dropped two games in November to Chattanooga and at Texas, but these were at a point in the season when all-America candidate center Isabelle Harrison was either out or just back from injury. Since then have beaten 7 opponents in a row, including #17 Rutgers, #7 Stanford and #10 Oregon State (rankings at the time; Stanford and Oregon State have dropped to the teens since then).

The Vols started the season with a combination of injuries and short suspensions that account for why only two players have started all 13 games. The most likely starters for Coach Holly Warlick might be
  • #20 6-3 Sr C Isabelle Harrison
  • #12 6-2 Jr F Bashaara Graves
  • #11 6-2 Sr F Cierra Burdick
  • # 0 5-11 So G Jordan Reynolds
  • #14 5-9 Rs So G Andraya Carter
This has been the starting lineup for 3 of the last 5 games, but 6-2 Jr F Jasmine Jones started against Rutgers and Stanford, taking Burdick's spot vs Rutgers and Carter's vs Stanford. 5-7 Sr PG Ariel Massengale was expected to start before the season but she's been coming off the bench in all but one of the previous games. Nevertheless, she leads the Lady Vols in scoring average and plays 26 minutes/game. Reynolds and Carter both have much better A/TO ratios than Massengale. With last year's leading scorer, Meaghan Reynolds, gone to graduation, Massengale has taken twice as many 3 point attempts as anyone else on the team.

Tennessee is known for dominant rebounding and they are outrebounding their opponents 46.8-35. Although Massengale leads the team in scoring average at 11.8 ppg, I think of this year's Tennessee team as being an inside team. Harrison and Graves are both averaging double digits in points with 11.3 and 10.6, respectively. Frontline players Jones, Burdick, and Nia Moore are between 8 and 10 ppg. The size advantage is not huge - with 6-6 Mercedes Russell out for the year, all of the Tenn front line are 6-2 or 6-3. They're very athletic and are quick enough to close out on the Ags mid-range jump shots in addition to keeping opponents out of the lane altogether (Tenn averages 4.2 blocks/game). But I was surprised to see that they were outscored in the paint in their last two games (Mizzou 22-14, Oregon State 36-32).

Last season the Ags got blown out by the Vols at Reed, but played them much closer in the SEC tourney before falling again. Since joining the SEC, the Ags have been pretty successful overall, but have only beaten the Vols once in four tries. Overall A&M is 1-5 vs the Vols. Winning in Thompson-Boling is never easy (Tenn is 9-0 at home this year), but who knows? Let's do it, Ags!

BTHO Tennessee!!