The Ags started Rachel Mitchell, Achiri Ade, Courtney Williams, Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones. Mizzou went with Jordan Frericks, Morgan Eye, Michelle Hudyn, Sierra Michaelis, and Lindsey Cunningham. Mizzou started in a man D, but it was sagging off and daring the Ags to shoot from outside. Both teams started slow and Coach Blair went small early, putting Tori Scott in for Mitchell less than 4 minutes into the game.
The score was just 6-6 at the 15 min media timeout. The Ags gradually built a lead. But Morgan Eye and Maddie Scott cut the lead to 1 at 14-13. Blair went back to a normal lineup by putting in Khaalia Hillsman. The score stayed there for several possessions as neither team got very good looks.
The game seemed kind of lethargic for most of the first half. A couple of subs on both sides raised the energy late in the period. Chelsea Jennings came in and scored 8 while grabbing a couple of boards and getting a steal for a breakaway. Mizzou's Maddie Stock hit a layup and a couple of 3s to lead the Bowtiegers at halftime with 8. Meanwhile CWalk led all scorers with 12 points on 6-12 shooting. Jordan Frericks led all rebounders with 10. The teams were tied at 19 in rebounds. Mizzou threw a lot of balls out of bounds and gave up 4 steals for a total of 8 turnovers, while the Ags only turned it over once. Only 11 total fouls were called and there was only 1 FT attempt in the half (missed by Ade in an "and one" opportunity).
Halftime score 28-21 Ags.
The Ags went back to the starters, while Mizzou kept Stock in the lineup. Stock and Frericks got the first points of the half to cut the lead to 28-25. Williams got the Ags first bucket of the half on a drive on the right side. The Ags restored the 7 point margin on a Curtyce Knox runner in the lane and then extended it to 9 when Knox stole the ball and Williams finished. Timeout Mizzou at 16:19.
After a media timeout about a minute later, Mizzou went to Morgan Eye in the right corner, who took 3 consecutive attempts from the same spot over Jennings. Eye hit another from way above the top of the key a few possession later to make it 35-31 Ags. Tavarsha Scott-Williams stole a rebound off a CWalk missed FT and then Jennings blocked Eye's next shot. CWalk converted stretch the lead back to 8 at 12:24 remaining.
Like they did vs LSU in their previous game, Mizzou cut the lead as the Ags went cold and gave up offensive rebounds. Frericks picked up her 4th foul with about 5 to go and the ags up only 3 at 44-41. Fowler had a shot to cut it to 1 rim out and then Ade went strong to the rim on the other end and drew a foul before the 3:45 media timeout. Ade hit both coming out of the commercial break as Frericks returned to the floor. Juanita Robinson found a gap in the D on the left side and cut it back to 3 with 2:26 left. Timeout Mizzou.
Walker scored out of the timeout and Mizzou turned it over. A second turnover forced by CWalk allowed JJ to run out for a layup to make it 50-43 with 1:15 left. Frericks used a nice swim move to get past Achiri and swiped an offensive board from Tavarsha and got a putback to make it 50-45 with 59.9 seconds left. The Ags ran the clock down and JJ finished with an off-balance layup. Jones then stole the ball from Robinson as she crossed midcourt and drew a foul as she went for a layup. Jordan hit both FTs made it 54-45. That sequence iced the game. Both teams scored again, but it was over.
Final Score 55-48 Ags.
- This was a pretty unsatisfying win. Sure, it's a conference road win, but the play felt mostly uninspired against Mizzou's various sagging man Ds and zones. The Ags did force the action inside but too often it seemed like players were getting too deep into the defense as if they thought they could go over the defenders who had beaten them to the spot. Mizzou was only credited with 3 blocks, but they contested a lot of shots so that the Ags missed 11 layups overall (7 by CWill). The early aggressiveness inside is reflected in the low foul count in the first half.
- Walker led all scorers with 17 points. CWalk and JJ made plays in crunch time to ice the win.Jones had a below average night for assists with just 3, but added 10 points, 2 steals, and a block without turning it over at all. CWill had another frustrating shooting night, going 4-18 from the floor.
- Rebounding remains a problem. After being tied at half, the Tigers outboarded the Ags 20-16.
- Frericks had a double double against the Ags (15 pts, 16 boards). Eye and Stock also finished in double figures.
- The A&M D was key to the win, but it wasn't quite as good as it might look from the 21 Mizzou turnovers and 38.8% shooting. The Ags played outstanding D at times, but there were also several instances of a Mizzou player getting wide open under the goal and then fumbling the entry pass. Several turnovers were where the Mutigers just threw horrible passes out of bounds. The turnover margin is also less impressive when you remember that Mizzou's natural PGs are all out with injuries.
- The Ags got some important contributions from the bench, notably from Jennings in the first half, and Knox and Scott-Willams in the second.
- Free throw shooting was not great. Forcing more of the action in the second half, the Ags finished with a 15-5 edge in FT attempts... but only a 7-5 lead in points from the charity stripe.
Up next: Battle of Vic'sburg
The Ags go to Starkville on Sunday for another Former Students Reunion Game with the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs. For his first two years at MSU, Coach Vic Shaeffer and his staff of Aggie WBBers have been telling opponents to enjoy getting their licks in before he got his program going. This may or may not be the year they get payback for all their debts (they weren't ready to get it in Thompson-Boling vs the Vols), but the season has been a major step forward for Coach Vic and his team.
And its another game where we get a ranked team on the road after one of their bye weeks.
MSU is 22-3 with all 3 losses coming in SEC play. One was at Vanderbilt, where road teams tend to suffer from the bizarre layout. They've already avenged that one with emphasis. Their other two were at Tennessee and in OT against LSU at home. They won the preseason WNIT. The improvement has been helped by the addition of several key freshmen, who are combining with veterans who have now had a couple of years to learn Schaefer's style of play. Probable starters based on their last few games:
- #35 6-1 Freshman F Victoria Vivians is leading the team in scoring at 14.6 ppg and is likely to make the SEC All-Freshman team. She's started every game.
- #10 6-4 Senior C Martha Alwal (8.3 ppg 5.8 rpg) has been one of the better posts in the SEC for several years. She currently leads the league in blocks despite being pushed to the bench earlier in the season by #45 6-5 So C Chinwe Okorie.
- #3 6-1 So F Breanna Richardson (8.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) seems to have displaced #13 6-1 Soph F Katera Chapel in the starting lineup.
- #21 5-5 Sr PG Jerica James has started every game and leads the team in assists
- #00 5-9 So G Dominique Dillingham (5.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg) has started every game (although ESPN lists her as coming off the bench vs Tenn. I think that's not right based on MSU's own site).