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WBB: Ags fall to Ohio State 95-80 after dominant first quarter

The Women's Bouncy Ball team suffered their first loss of the young season, turning a dominating first quarter performance into a very ugly loss.

Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell scored 42 points vs the Ags
Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell scored 42 points vs the Ags
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

This is another radio-based recap. The word from Ags on the WBB board of a certain other website and from the Cal fans yesterday was that the PPV stream was not worth it. To make things worse, the FM audio with Bret Dark and Steve Miller had some intermittent dropouts during the game.

First Quarter

The Ags stuck with the same starters as Friday's game: Hillsman, Jennings,  CWill,  CWalk, and Jones. tOSU came out in the expected full court 2-2-1 press. The Ags started on a 6-0 run and led 13-2 by the first timeout. CWill continued her outstanding play getting to double digits by the middle of the first quarter.

The Ags were up19-4 when Ohio State went on a 7-0 run. Walker broke the string with a J just inside the arc with 3:07 left.

End of the quarter: 24-12 Ags. 5 offensive boards led to 9 second chance points

Second Quarter

Curtyce Knox finished the first quarter and stayed in at the start of the second as JJ sat with 2 fouls. The Ags played zone at the end of the first and start of the second. Ohio State countered with a zone of their own. The Buckeyes were able to trim the lead as the Ags couldn't score until Walker scored with 6:28 to go.

Bret and Steve started complaining about the refs around this point.

Ohio State took the lead with 3 minutes left at 29-28. Walker answered with a couple of baskets and then Jones hit a three to make it 35-31.

Halftime score: 38-36 Ags. A&M was outscored in the quarter 24-14. The Ags outrebounded the Bucks by 24-14, but are losing the turnover battle 11-5. CWill led alls scorers with 13. Walker had 10. Mitchell and Alston led the Buckeyes with 11 each.

Third Quarter

A steal and score by Mitchell allowed the Buckeyes to tie the game at 40 early in the third. Ohio State pulled ahead on a 3 by Alston and were outscoring the Ags 12-3 in the quarter when Blair called a timeout. The Ags only had one FG and a FT at that point. Ohio State's zone continued to frustrate the Ags while the A&M D became increasingly porous. The Buckeyes dominated the middle of the quarter, going up 15 at one point.

Given the zone D, I was surprised that Blair waited until late in the third to bring in Danni Williams. Danni contributed a 3 and an assist on a 3 by JJ, but the Aggie D continued to struggle as Mitchell and Alston stayed hot. The Ags cut the lead to 10 but gave up a late drive to Alston.

63-51 Buckeyes.

Fourth Quarter

Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston continued to plague the Ags as the D couldn't do much. The offense started to do a better but couldn't close the gap. It was 73-62 when Blair called a timeout with 6:39 to go. At that point Mitchell had 30 points and Alston had 19. After the timeout Ohio State continued to shred the Aggie D and took their largest lead of the game.

Jones fouled out at 2:51 to go.

Final score: 95-80 Ohio State

Overall

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

- Yeats, The Second Coming

This was an epic collapse after a great first quarter. Without being able to watch, it's hard to dissect the cadaver in detail. Given that the Ags scored 80 on 48.5% shooting, and outrebounded the Buckeyes 37-31, there were elements there for a win instead of a blowout loss. The overall score doesn't reflect the extended droughts in the second and third quarters after tOSU went to a zone D. And the most fundamental problem was in how the defense seemed to be giving up easy layups over and over to Mitchell and Alston.

What I can't tell without the video is why the D collapsed. Part of it has to involve giving credit to Ohio State. Mitchell is a preseason All-American for a reason. But there must be more to the story. There are clues in the stats, but not enough information.

  • Coach Blair pulled everyone off the floor after the game and skipped the post-game radio interviews.
  • Courtney Williams led the Ags with 21 points. After scoring 13 in the first quarter, she was neutralized for much of the second and third quarters. Courtney Walker added 20 and led the team in rebounding with 6. Jones had 12 points and 7 assists against 2 turnovers.
  • Kelsey Mitchell scored 42 points, which is the most an opponent has scored against a Blair team at A&M. It also tied an Ohio State record. Alston added 21.
  • Although the coaches were worried about the 2-2-1 full court press, it seemed like the turnovers were not from that kind of pressure. The Buckeyes scored 42 points in the paint but only 2 came on a fast break. The half court defensive struggles are reflected in that stat. Mitchell got 10 of her 42 on 5 layups, of which only one was assisted. Alston had 6 layups; only one resulted from an assist.
It will be interesting to see whether Coach Blair will provide any additional insight into what happened later in the week.

Up Next

  • Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine
  • 9 PM CST Friday Dec 4, 2015
  • Laie, Hawaii, on the campus of BYU-Hawai'i
  • Nothing listed yet for TV or radio.
The Ags return home and then go on another trip even further west.

Thanks to their location, Hawai'i hosts a bunch of invitationals and tournaments every year. They've already played in the Bank of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine Classic, losing in the final to Washington State. As I write this, they're playing in the

Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Shootout, a round robin with Cal State-Bakersfield, Arizona State, and #2 South Carolina. The Ags play the 'Bows as part of the Tom Weston Classic, where BYU plays the host team locals the night before and the Ags play the Cougars the next day.

Hawai'i won the Big West last season but didn't get an NCAA bid due to losing in the final of their conference tournament. They wound up making their 3rd straight WNIT appearance, where they lost to St. Mary's. Laura Beeman was named Big West coach of the year. The Ags  seen Beeman before, as she was an assistant to Michael Cooper at USC when the Women of Troy came to Reed in 2011. She was also an assistant with Cooper with the WNBA LA Sparks.

Hawai'i graduated their best player in Shawna-Lei Kuehu but they return 63.8% of their scoring production.

A&M is 0-1 all-time vs Hawai'i. In 2005 Coach Blair suffered a 66-68 loss at Hawai'i.

Update:

I've corrected an error about the location of the next couple of games. Hawai'i is not hosting. The games are at BYU Hawai'i.