Five quick thoughts from No. 14 Texas A&M 74, LSU 57

Well, the first 30 minutes of the game weren’t pretty, but the 14th-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team pulled out a gutsy 74-57 win over a tough LSU team on Monday night in Baton Rouge. With the win, A&M moves to 18-5 overall and 8-1 in SEC play. Here are five quick thoughts on the victory:

1) First off … What more is there to say about Gary Blair’s coaching ability and the way he has this team playing right now? LSU was 10-1 at home this season going into the game, so the Aggies knew they were in for a battle, but they showed the resiliency to fight off every LSU attempt at a comeback and eventually soundly beat the Tigers at the Maravich Center. And while the Tigers aren’t on the level of Tennessee and Kentucky, they are at-worst a bubble team looking to get into this year’s NCAA Tournament. A&M “defensive coordinator” Bob Starkey played his first game back in the Maravich Center after spending 22 years in Baton Rouge, and must have been pleased with his defense’s performance. A&M held LSU 13 points under their 70.3 per game average and limited the Tigers to 36% from the field.

2) You could have given Player of the Game honors to three different Aggies and I wouldn’t have a problem with it. After only playing seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, All-American candidate Kelsey Bone scored 16 in the second half, and 21 overall to lead all scorers in the victory. Freshman guard Courtney Walker’s performance also deserves mentioning, as the Edmond, Oklahoma product went for 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Going back to Thursday’s game with Vanderbilt, Walker has hit on 18 of her last 23 shots. Finally, Kristi Bellock put in another fantastic night. Listen to this stat line: 12 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists and one block. The senior also played very well on the defensive end in the first half guarding the SEC’s leading scorer, Theresa Plaisance, after both Bone and Karla Gilbert had to sit due to foul trouble. Plaisance went 0-for-7 from the floor during the first 20 minutes.

3) After battling back-and-forth with the Tigers for the entire first half and the beginning of the second, A&M was able to pull away from LSU a bit and held a 10-point lead with just over nine minutes remaining. But over the next three minutes or so, the Tigers would scratch their way back within five when Plaisance nailed a three-pointer to make the score 59-54. The Aggies then showed why they are, in my opinion, one of the best teams in the country right now by closing the game on a 15-3 run that included six points from Walker. LSU fought hard, but A&M flexed their muscle and reminded the Tigers why they are mopping the floor with the majority of the conference in their inaugural SEC season.

4) A&M’s bench combined for 13 points, four assists and eight rebounds on the night. While not their best performance of the season, the bench still did their job and played a part in the victory. Sophomore Louisiana native Tori Scott scored six points in the first half and Peyton Little registered three assists in 20 minutes of action. When Bone and Gilbert found themselves in foul trouble during the first half, Blair put in 6-7 redshirt freshman Rachel Mitchell at the post. While Mitchell has been seeing a little more action in the past few games, she still hasn’t quite taken that next step towards being a true game-changer inside for the Aggies. However, the potential is there, and with more work this year and in the offseason, Mitchell should end up as a contributor for the Maroon and White before all is said and done.

5) And finally … The Texas A&M Aggies sit atop the SEC standings for the first time this season. A&M’s victory moved them to 8-1 in SEC play, and thanks to Missouri’s upset of Tennessee on Sunday, the Aggies completely control their own destiny in the league. The Vols are also 8-1 in conference and Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina all sit a game back at 7-2. While it’s nice to look at what has already been accomplished this season, Blair and company still have potential roadblocks to their first SEC crown this Sunday against South Carolina (in Columbia), Monday the 18th against Kentucky (in College Station) and what could be the conference-deciding game in Knoxville against Tennessee on the 28th. Win at least two of those and pick up the games the Aggies SHOULD win (vs. Florida, vs. Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt, and vs. LSU) and A&M could very well be looking at holding the number one seed in the SEC Tournament.

There you have it, folks!

[This message has been edited by Ronnie Woodard (edited 2/4/2013 11:18p).]
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The Texas A&M Aggies sit atop the SEC standings

[This message has been edited by biobioprof (edited 2/4/2013 11:17p).]
Ah, thanks for that bio... I knew I was going to mess something up. Fixed now.
Well done ladies. And thanks Ron.
Excellent report!
Great game ladies.
Thanks for the article. Great game Lady Aggies. Gig em.
Love our success in Women's Basketball! Ready for our guys team to get back on track.
South Carolina looks pretty stout defensively from what the people say. The Aggie entry has some kind of concept of defense and some kind of concept toward the basket, too; we'll see. It' gonna be fun.
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