Discuss 4
November 23, 2012
WBB: Box Score Observations … A&M 88, Southern 48
photo: Matt Sachs, TexAgs
 
Kelsey Bone scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Aggies to a 40-point win over Southern Friday night at Reed Arena in the A&M Classic.

Our basketball coverage team, which includes me, is still in Thanksgiving mode and spread out across the state. So none of us were able to make it to Reed Arena for the women's basketball game vs. Southern on Friday. But I thought I would take the liberty to peek at the box score and offer a few observations. Here you go:

* A dominant win is just what the doctor ordered. The Aggies are a much, much better team that many fans believe them to be. Starting out 0-3 is never easy but you have to remember that A&M played three top nine teams and had a chance late to win two of those games. And after that gauntlet of a beginning to the season, the Ags have soundly defeated their last two opponents to get to 2-3. And on Friday, A&M obliterated a hapless Southern squad by 40 points and finally looked like the top 20-caliber team that they are. Is Texas A&M a top 10 squad? No. At least not right now. Not with six freshmen on the squad and lots of new players trying to find their way. But I still think that this is a high-end SEC team that can make a run to the Sweet 16. In a month, we'll look up and the Aggies will be entering conference play with a record of 9-4 or 10-3 and streaking into conference play.

* Nice game for Kelsey Bone. The junior center posted 15 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes of action. She was 5-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 at the foul line, also dishing out two assists with just one turnover. For the season, K-Bone leads the Ags in points (13.0) and rebounds (9.4) and also has nearly two assists and two steals per game this season.

I feel that, on the whole, Kelsey has gotten a bad wrap. When A&M plays poorly, much of the blame falls on the shoulders of #3 because she's A&M's best and most experienced player. Bone is supposed to be the "answer" … the superstar player that will lead the way in sustaining what A&M built during its journey to a national title in 2011. Bone feels that incredible weight and you see her frustration at times on the court. No, she's not an absolute Griner-like star player, but she's actually had a much better season that I've seen her get credit for through five games. Bone had a bad, bad game in the blowout loss to UConn, but go back and look at Kelsey's production in the other four games this season. Pretty darn good.

Bone is not going to blow up for 25 and 15 every game. That's not the kind of player that she will be consistently. But if you're looking for a center to get you somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 and 10, that's what you've got. Yes, Kelsey needs to play better defense more consistently. And yes, she needs to not let her frustrations lead to cheap fouls and allow her to take herself out of big games mentally. But the production is there and I think she's in for a solid, solid season as a junior.

* Other things that stood out positively:
-- 23-10 assist-to-turnover ratio and a combined 14-1 A/TO mark by the point guard trio of Pratcher, Standish and Jones. The freshman, Jordan Jones, dished out six dimes and no turnovers in just 14 minutes on the floor.

-- Peyton Little scored 11 points in 10 minutes. More importantly, she took only two three-point shots. Don't get me wrong … Peyton can absolutely knock down the long range shot, but early on this season, she fired off three balls early and often and it seemed to be like a nervous reaction. Get ball … shoot ball. Like me when I was overmatched during a church league basketball tournament in high school. Jack. Up. Three. NOW. The different in Little and me is that Little can actually shoot and has a lot of talent. And judging by just two three-point attempts in 10 minutes tells me that Peyton is starting to let the game come to her a little bit.

-- Kristi Bellock … 10 points, four rebounds, four steals and 4-of-6 shooting. I'll take that every game and be happy with it.

-- A&M shot 55.7 percent as a team and a big reason for that was that they got the ball inside with ease. Bone, Bellock and Gilbert combined to go 16-of-24 from the field, as the Ags outscored Southern, 52-20 in the paint.

-- Bench scoring. A&M's bench outscored Southern, 45-13. Karla Gilbert led the way with 15 points and five boards. Little was in double figures with 11.

* A couple of negatives:
-- Who is going to knock down the long-range jumper? A&M shot just 28.6 percent from three-point range, and other than Little and Standish, I'm not sure who can knock down the three-ball consistently. Pratcher and Walker can shoot it but don't attempt a lot of threes. I'm glad that A&M isn't trying to force the outside shot. It's not really what this group is good at and the Aggies took just seven three-pointers in the big win on Friday night. They'll have nights as the season rolls along where they're hot from downtown. But when they're not, you want to see A&M pound it inside, dribble-drive to the basket and take high percentage shots.

-- A&M out-rebounded Southern, 15-13, but 13 offensive rebounds is quite a high number against a team that was so overmatched. I know that six of those were team boards for Southern, but I would like to see A&M box out and come down with loose balls with greater consistency on the defensive end.

The Aggies return to the hardwood on Sunday for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff against Marquette.
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