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photo: Matt Sachs, TexAgs
Notes from Locker Room Chat with Kelsey Bone* Getting back to the tournament championship is a great way to close out this conference. The number one key on the board today was getting to the championship. A&M is 11-2 in the tournament the past few years with boss loss coming to Baylor in the championship game. The supporting cast and the games that Alexia Standish and Skylar Collins have played the past two days is what this team is all about. Coach Schaefer challenged the team after the loss to Texas. He challenged their heart and pride and they have responded really well. The icing on the cake will be responding tomorrow in possibly the last game against Baylor for a long time. If this team can go out with a Big 12 Tournament championship, it will be epic for the team and A&M as a whole.
* Kristi Bellock has been down on herself lately because of her playing time and she’s a great player but Adora Elonu is in front of her on the depth chart and she can play 40 minutes and then play 40 more minutes two hours later if she was asked to. She said to Bellock before the game that if she could just rebound some while she was on the floor, then she would get out of the little slump she has been in. Elonu picked up her third foul and Coach Blair wanted to put Bellock in, but matchups prevent him from doing that. When her name was finally called in the second half, she started coming out of nowhere to grab rebounds. Five offense rebounds is hard for anybody, but to do it in only 13 minutes is crazy. The fun thing is that on any given day, anyone can step up and play big for this team.
* People think the Baylor game is always about Kelsey Bone vs. Brittney Griner, but if any five girls on the court get in position and dominate, then that’s where the victory will come from. The two times the two teams have played this year, it has not come down to the post play of her and Griner, it’s been the supporting cast that has decided the game. The four-spot and guard play will be very important against Baylor tomorrow. Odyssey Sims always plays great against A&M, and that’s because of the heat of the rivalry that has formed over the past few years. A&M has to understand that Baylor is always going for the kill against them, and needs to attack first to counter that. The coaches are coming up with a game plan, and then once they give it to the team, it’s up to them to win the game. The importance of the play of the four-players can’t be stressed enough if A&M hopes to succeed tomorrow against the Bears.
* She has never forgotten how to play basketball and the steps she has taken in the wrong direction at times haven’t bothered her because she knows that once everything comes together, she’s unstoppable. When she decides that nothing will stop her, she plays at a much higher level. Her struggles at times can be attributed to her understanding of the system she is playing in, because it’s so different than the system she played in at South Carolina. It’s the postseason now, and these are the moments that she has dreamed about and watched on television since she was a little girl. She remembers watching championships being won, and specifically remembers watching and being a part of A&M winning the national championship last year. Knowing that her team needs her, and that there could possibly not be a next game drives her to play much better. If she was only going to take one thing away from the victory over Oklahoma, it would be the aggression she played with on the court today.