WBB: Season ends as 6th-seeded A&M falls to 11th-seeded UALR 69-60

9,417 Views | 10 Replies | Last: 8 yr ago by mullokmotx
Ronnie Woodard
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The Texas A&M women's basketball team saw their season end on Saturday afternoon after being a victim of a first round upset in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Behind 25 points from Taylor Gault and 22 more from Kiera Clark, the 11th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans knocked off the Aggies 69-60 in the first game of the Tempe sub-regional. With the loss, A&M finishes the year with a 23-10 record and fails to advance to the second round of the tournament for the first time in eight seasons.

It was a game of runs in the first half as the Trojans used a 7-0 variety midway through to build a nine-point lead at 21-12 with 9:56 remaining in the period. Then, the Aggies answered with a 6-0 strike of the own to pull back with two at 21-19 before UALR rattled off six more unanswered to hold a 27-19 lead with 4:56 to play in the first. Finally, A&M closed with the half's final nine points to take a 28-27 lead into the locker room at the break.

After the strong close to the half, it appeared that A&M was going to ride the momentum, overtake the Trojans and avoid the upset, but that wasn't the case.

With 16:06 left in the game, Gault hit a three ball that sparked a 9-0 UALR run which gave the Trojans a 40-34 lead with 13:40 showing on the clock.

Behind the play of Courtney Williams, the Aggies began clicking down the stretch offensively but it seemed that any time A&M hit a big shot that would change momentum or starting putting together even the smallest of runs, the Trojans had an answer.

With 6:38 remaining, Williams hit a jumper to bring the Aggies within three at 53-50 and A&M proceeded to get a stop defensively that gave them a chance to cut the lead to one or tie the game. However, point guard Curtyce Knox committed an offensive foul and Gault hit a three for UALR on the ensuing possession to push the lead back to six.

A&M began fouling to extend the game with 1:31 left, but the Trojans hit on 8-of-12 free throws in the final 90 seconds to hold off the Aggies and pick up the third win in three tries for 11-seeds in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

For Joe Foley, UALR head coach and good friend of Gary Blair, the win was the 700th of his career.


Additional Thoughts
* For as good as Courtney Williams was on Saturday afternoon, the junior needed someone anyone to step up and help out in order to pick up the win. That help never came and the Aggies were bounced from the tournament. Williams finished the game with 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting and making 5-of-5 at the line with 12 rebounds while the other four A&M starters combined for just 27 points. Achiri Ade was majorly limited in the first half with foul trouble and finished the game with no points and just four rebounds, Courtney Walker was just 2-of-8 from the field and Curtyce Knox went 2-of-10 while fouling out and turning the ball over six times.

Khaalia Hillsman scored nine points and added 10 rebounds, which are respectable totals, but she could have scored even more had she not missed a few bunnies around the rim. On top of that, Chelsea Jennings saw 23 minutes of game action and scored just two points, while Tori Scott saw 19 minutes of time and scored four. Needless to say, it was a forgetful day for just about everyone not named Williams and it cost A&M the game.

* Knox just didn't have it today. The sophomore has been thrust into action after the ACL injury to original starter Jordan Jones at the point and has shown flashes in the past of being able to distribute the ball well, but today she struggled and it hurt A&M. After a stretch of five turnovers in eight minutes in the first half, Blair seemed to have seen enough for the time being and subbed out Knox. However, Walker picked up her second foul soon after and Blair was forced to put Knox back in the game. Knox finished the game with eight points, but it came on 2-of-10 shooting. She was 1-of-5 from behind the arc with one of those misses being a questionable shot late in the game when Williams was on a hot streak.

* Finally, and it has been said over and over but was proven again on Saturday, this team misses Jordan Jones on the court. If you include the Missouri game in which she was injured, the Aggies finished the year 1-4 with her out. Not only did the drop-off at the point guard spot hurt A&M from an in-game perspective, but it was obvious the team lacked direction and "want-to" without her on the floor. There just didn't seem to be the same tenacity on the defensive end (makes sense when she was the two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year) or level of execution on the offensive end without her over the last five games of the season.

You could argue that A&M should have made more strides with Knox running the show game-by-game or that the team should have been more prepared prior to the injury, but whatever the case may be, it was again apparent that Jones was missed.


That's all I got for today. It's been another fun season covering the team and I wanted to thank you guys for taking the time to read my content!
rojack
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R.W. Thanks for the reporting this year. Good direct stories. I was disappointed in this year's results. Looks like injury issues and other unknown issues held this team back. Very interesting year coming up to see how Coach Blair changes the team around d next year.
Cornerback31
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Thanks Ronnie. Good reports all year.
Dr. Mike 69
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This team never seemed to gel all season long. They're missing a leader. They looked uninspired most of the season. Just basically a pretty boring year. We got spoiled when Danielle Adams was here. Blair is a great coach. The chemistry just didn't seem to come together. At least they made it to NCAA for the 8th straight year.
greg.w.h
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10 years straight I believe: 2006-2015
Burbank
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Something was missing, not sure what
martin56
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Defense and hussle seem to have dropped off since Vic left.
RGbadger
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Several players on this team were never in good shape. After 2 or 3 min, they just jogged up the court.
Post players were never developed or improved during season. Got to blame coaches for these truths.
mjschiller
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Thanks, Ronnie for your excellent insights.
TexasAggieBuilder90
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Tough loss. Key injuries have really affected both the Men's and Women's teams this year.
sharpdressedman
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Just a few tattoos short of greatness. Looking forward to GB's farewell tour next season.
mullokmotx
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We never seem to do well when Gary doesn't wear a tie, like Nebraska 2 years ago. We went small in the 2nd half and ASU kept their bigs in the game against UALR and it eventually paid off.
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