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Photo by Elisa Schmitt, TexAgs
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

A&M women's basketball routs Alabama, 70-43, for second SEC win

January 13, 2019
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After dropping their first two conference games, Texas A&M (13-4, 2-2) is now back to .500 after a convincing victory over Alabama (9-8, 1-3) 70-43 Sunday at Reed Arena.

Prior to the game, it was expected to be a battle of size with both programs starting two players 6-2 or taller. It did appear that way at first, however, Texas A&M began displaying a performance that was not limited to living in the paint. Alabama, on the other hand, was extremely limited right from the start.

The first quarter witnessed Alabama dominating the boards early. They finished the quarter with six offensive rebounds that led to six second-chance points. Unfortunately for the Tide, their success on the hardwood stopped with rebounding. This was visible from their shooting woes where they went 3-17 in the quarter. The Aggies joined Alabama in their cold start shooting the ball, but then erupted with a 12-0 run during a seven-minute Crimson Tide scoring drought. The Aggies finished the quarter leading 15-6, with six of their points coming from Kayla Wells who was hot early from three-point land.

The trend of shooting woes for Alabama continued into the second quarter as Texas A&M held them to just 25.8 percent shooting from the floor at halftime. The struggle to hit shots was not unique to the Crimson Tide this quarter, however, with the Aggies going 4-18 from the floor, a mere 22.2 percent. What ended up as the key factor in the first half was free throw shooting, especially in the second period of play.

Alabama only took two foul shots by halftime, compared to the 13 of Texas A&M. A&M was able to get to the line so often because they began crashing the offensive glass, leading to fouls inside. In the second quarter alone, the Aggies collected seven offensive boards, with six of them coming from Ciera Johnson. She finished with an 18 point and 11 rebound double-double, her fifth of the season.

Moving into the second half, the Aggies did not have a desirable genesis to the third quarter. Alabama was able to cut the A&M lead to 10, to which Coach Blair thought, “Here we go again,” he said after the game. At this point in the contest, Alabama had just completed a three-point play that featured a tough bucket plus the foul in the paint. Then, immediately in another eruption, similar the one that occurred in the first quarter, Texas A&M finished the quarter on a 13-0 run. This increased their lead back to 22 points heading into the fourth quarter. 

Elisa Schmitt, TexAgs
Shambria Washington finished with 14 points, her best mark since arriving at A&M. 

A major factor in the 13-point run the Aggies went on was the play from junior guard Shambria Washington, who is starting in place of the injured Aaliyah Wilson (ACL and MCL). Coach Blair praised her performance. “I thought the key to the ball game was Shambria Washington. She ran the ball club and played 30 straight minutes before we pulled her right at the end of the third quarter.” Washington’s third-quarter stat line was 10 points, but most importantly, zero turnovers. She finished with a senior college career-high 14 points total. 

The fourth quarter featured Chennedy Carter, who struggled all game shooting the ball (3-14, 1-6 from three) to see some shots fall, including two threes. More importantly, though, to the longevity of this year’s team, it featured very nice contributions from the bench. Coach Blair was impressed with their play and said they “did a really good job today.” 

“Really good job” calculated to be 17 points and 15 rebounds in 38 minutes. Bench contributions are significant for this team because of the large portion of minutes the starters get. Texas A&M did not make their first substitution until the 5:05 mark in the second quarter. At that point, Texas A&M had already seen ten different Alabama players in between the lines.

This game saw Texas A&M continue in their defensive prowess that, coming into this game, had them ranked first in the SEC in opponent three-point percentage at 25.7 percent. The Aggies took that a colossal step forward and held Alabama to just 1-23 from distance, a jaw-dropping 4.3 percent. The Aggies also held the Alabama starters to just 3-21 in the first half. Alabama head coach Kristy Curry bluntly and simply remarked after the game saying, “you’re not going to win on the road in this league being 3-for-21.”

Possibly the most important takeaway from this Aggie win was the killer instinct this young team displayed. Coach Blair spoke on this post-game. “Sometimes you have to just get the team by the throat and just hammer it in. When you know you’re playing well and you have the better team, you have to seize that moment.”

“We have effort every night and the greatest kids in the world. But at the same time, I am looking for execution because I want to go deep in March.”
-  A&M head coach Gary Blair 

Coach Blair went on to speak on if the killer instinct is coachable. “I have got to coach this team harder than I have had to coach a team in a long time, to be able to get the execution where we want it. When we start playing the teams in the top, you have got to have execution, and not just heart or hustle. You have to have execution. That is just something we are working on.

We have effort every night and the greatest kids in the world. But at the same time, I am looking for execution because I want to go deep in March.”

Coach Blair and his team can and should really appreciate this convincing win. “We needed this. Every win has been a grind for us,” Blair stated after the game.

Ciera Johnson also spoke on how important this win was and where their mindset is as a team. “Chennedy said on the bus coming back from LSU that we’re not going to be the only team that loses two games in conference play. That was a good eye-opener. When Chennedy said that, it made everyone think that we’re good and we got this, even though, we’re 0-2”

Looking forward, the Aggies go on the road for two more games against Georgia and Auburn, before returning home to face Kentucky on January 27th.


Special thanks to Mac Resource Computers for their sponsorship of all women's basketball content produced throughout the season at TexAgs.com! For the seventh consecutive year, all WBB content will be available to you for free!

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A&M women's basketball routs Alabama, 70-43, for second SEC win

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