As noted in my writeup of the previous game, a conflict kept me from watching this game live. But when I saw the final score I decided I needed to stay up late and watch the replay on ESPN streaming, and do a writeup.
First and Second Quarters
Coach Blair went back to Jasmine Lumpkin at the 4 while keeping the rest of the starters the same in Jones, Hillsman, CWill, and CWalk. Duke countered with Oderah Chidum at the post, Azura Stevens and Rebecca Greenwell as wings, and Crystal Primm and Kyra Lambert at guard. Both teams started on fire and running the floor before the defenses settled down and the offenses got a bit sloppy. Rebecca Greenwell was on fire for Duke. Duke led 21-16 at the end of the first quarter, scoring a fast break on a turnover when the Ags were trying to cut the lead to 1. Duke maintained a 3-6 point lead through most of the second quarter until a very late surge by the Ags. Danni Williams cut the lead to 1 with a 3 pointer with 3:32 left, and then neither team scored until Angela Salvadores hit a pair of FTs almost 2 minutes later. In that scoring drought Courtney Wiliams got called for her third foul and Courtney Walker got a second foul on what replay showed was a clean block of Salvadores. On the possession after the Duke FTs the Ags used 3 offensive boards and a Jennings putback to make it 30-29. Azura Stevens missed of an up and under move and the Ags capitalzed with a short jumper by Jennings in the paint to take the halftime lead 31-30.
After starting hot, the Ags missed a lot of bunnies to end the half shooting 33% from the field. Duke also cooled off to 41%. The Blue Devils only had a one rebound edge on the boards, and gave up 9 offensive rebounds to the Ags. Greenwell led all scorers with 14 points. Jones led the Ags with 7. Duke has struggled with turnovers so far this year and they gave it up 13 times in the first half. Some were good defensive plays by the Ags; others were Duke players not concentrating and just dropping passes out of bounds.
Third and Fourth Quarters
The second half opened with CWalk taking charge for the Ags. Walker scored the first 7 points of a 10-2 run by the Ags to open the second half. A 3 pointer by Jones made it 41-32 A&M and forced an early timeout by Duke Coach Joanne McCollie. Walker stayed hot, stretching the lead to double digits. The lead was 9 at the 4:55 TV timeout, but the Ags let the Devils chip away at the lead until it was down to 3 with 42 seconds left in the third. Anriel Howard stretched the lead to 5 to end the quarter putting back a miss by Danni Williams.
JJ got banged up at the end of the third, so the Ags opened with CWalk at the point. CWill came back onto the court after sitting out the third quarter with her 3 fouls. The Duke comeback continued into the 4th quarter. Stevens cut the lead to 1 early. CWill got her 4th foul with 8 minutes left and went back to the bench as JJ returned. The score was tied at 54 when Salvadores hit a midrange fadeaway from the left side right before a TV timeout with 7:23 left. JJ hit a 3 to retake the lead. But the Ags were stuck on 57 for more than 3 minutes allowing Duke to tie it and then take the lead on a Stevens putback of her own miss with 4 minutes left.
Walker and Greenwell traded baskets before the Ags called timeout with 3:24 left. CWill tied it at 61, but the Ags were not able to stop Greenwell from driving off picks for open layups. Duke had a 63-61 lea with the ball with 1:16 left and called a timeout to set up a play to stretch the lead. Blair put Rachel Mitchell in to guard Stevens, running a twin tower lineup for the first time, I think. Stevens dished to Greenwell who dribbled toward the lane and pulled up for a jumper that was short. On the counterattack CWalk drove the lane, drew the D, and dished to a wide open Khaalia for the layup that tied the game at 63 with 34 seconds to go. Stevens missed a 3 and Duke use fouls to keep the Ags from making a play with in the last few seconds. It saved a play but gave starting post Chidum her 4th foul. The Ags tried a lob at the rim to Rachel at the end, but couldn't connect.
The OT started with Duke in the bonus and with fouls to give. Duke took the lead on a of FT by Lambert, who missed he second shot. The Ags took the lead on a CWill pull up baseline J from the left side after Rachel blocked a shot out high, and chasing the ball to force a Duke player to knock it out of bounds. Offensive boards were big in giving CWalk a chance to hit another jumper from the opposite corner. Walker made it a 5 point lead with 1:17 left. Crystal Primm cut it to 3 after some frantic play, but there were only 35 seconds left. Duke timeout. Ags timeout with the new rules brought the inbounds to the front court. The Ags got the inbounds to JJ, and Duke had to foul. But they still had fouls to give, so the Ags were able to run more time off the clock. Duke sent Walker to the line with 27.2 left. CWalk only hit one, but that was enough to make it a two possession game. Duke was forced to go for threes after CWill added a FT. Rachel finished the scoring from the FT line making 1 of 2 with 2.6 seconds left.
Final score 72-66 Ags.
This was a hard fought game with both teams having runs of brilliant plays and early season breakdowns. Although Walker has to be the player of the game for how she started the run to put Duke in the hole to start the second half, and for her great assist to Hillsman to send the game into OT. But it was a team effort.
- Earlier this week, Coach Blair talked about how JJ's minutes have been limited coming off her knee rehab, but that she could play 40 if needed. She ended up playing 41.
- Walker finished with a double-double, leading the team in both points (22) and rebounds (11).
- The Ags showed they could overcome a subpar performance from Courtney Williams, where foul trouble limited her to 12 points and 4 boards in 22 minutes.
- I thought both Jasmine and Anriel played well at the 4 with some tough defensive assignments.
- The Ags won the rebounding battle, 49-44, thanks to a great effort on the offensive glass. The Ags 20 offensive boards led to17 second-chance points
- The Ags won the bench scoring 18-11. Four different Ags scored off the bench, while all of Dukes bench scoring was from Salvadores.
- 12:30 PM CST November 21, 2015
- Reed Arena