Photo by Angelina Alcantar, TexAgs
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

Chennedy Carter's big night paces Aggies in exhibition loss to Team USA

November 8, 2019
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The No. 6 ranked Texas A&M Aggies fell to the US Women’s National Team, 93-63, in an exhibition match at home on Thursday. The matchup, which does not count against the Aggies’ record this season, was an opportunity for the young team to face off against some of the most talented players in the nation. 

With the road to the 2020 Olympics on their mind, the US Women’s National Team was looking for opportunities to help challenge them and grow as a team, allowing them to evaluate their talent and team chemistry as the reigning champions compile their next Olympic squad. In preparation for next year’s games, the USWNT is matching up with some of the most talented collegiate teams in the nation in a series of exhibition games, tallying wins against No. 3 Stanford and No. 7 Oregon State so far. 

The Aggie team was excited for the opportunity to test themselves against tough competition.

“It’s an honor and blessing. Not many people can wake up and say that they’re getting to play the best women in the world today,” said junior center Ciera Johnson. 

Angelina Alcantar, TexAgs
Chennedy Carter ended the night with 34 points, the most ever scored on Team USA in an exhibition match.

With the promise of a competitive game ahead, the Aggies came out of the gate hot, looking sharp early. A&M was shooting well in the first quarter, going 10-16 on field goals to jump out to an early lead. Junior guard Chennedy Carter, who earned a pre-season SEC Player of the Year nod, played confidently and efficiently in the first quarter, helping the Aggies build momentum. While Team USA started off a slowly, they quickly found their rhythm, coming back to take the 29-26 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Heading into the second quarter, the Aggies were still pressing hard, looking to tie it up. In the first minute, Carter converted on two free throws to put the Aggies within one. The USWNT countered, racking up eleven unanswered points to solidify their lead. Exceptional play from Skylar Diggins- Smith and Nneka Ogwumike helped build the National Team’s momentum as they continued to add on to their lead. Diggins-Smith, a former guard for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, played well on the night, coming off the bench to put up nineteen points for the United States. 

The depth of the US team was on display during the match. With a fully stacked rotation of WNBA All- Stars waiting on the bench, it was no surprise the National Team’s bench outpaced the Aggie bench, 44-6. 

Diggins-Smith believes that with the depth of talent the team possesses, it is type of play that sets the team apart from others

“I’m playing with the best in the world so it’s easy to play with great players,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just about staying out of each other’s way and moving off each other. This team has six point guards and we move the ball very well. It doesn’t really matter who has it.

“You might have a good shot, and you give it up for a great shot. This team isn’t about necessarily doing what you’re doing for an NBA team. You’ve got to give up a piece of yourself for the greater good of the team.”

Coming back from half time, Chennedy Carter led the charge for the Aggies on offense as A&M attempted to swing the momentum back in their favor. Carter was hot in the third, scoring eleven of the Aggies’ eighteen points in the third period. While Team USA managed to extend their lead, Carter’s effort and talent were noted by the USA Women’s Basketball head coach Cheryl Reeve. 

“[Chennedy Carter is] a great player. We know we’ll be seeing lots of her at the pro level whenever she decides to come in for that.”
- Team USA head coach Cheryl Reeve

“We have five of our players that are returning from injuries, so to put them in those situations to guard a player like Chennedy was a big challenge,” Reeve said. “It helps our team when you go against a great player like that, but she’s crafty, she gets to the foul line, and has a unique way of getting her body into you.

“She’s a great player. We know we’ll be seeing lots of her at the pro level whenever she decides to come in for that.”

Carter’s stellar night was a historical one. With her thirty-four point performance on the night, Carter took down a record that is older than she is. The junior topped a thirty-two point showing by Texas Tech’s Michi Atkins during a 1996 exhibition match the National Team, destroying the twenty-three year old record for most points scored against the USWNT. 

Heading into the fourth quarter, Team USA held the 69-53 lead. Despite the deficit, the Aggies were still locked into the game but appeared to be slowing following a hard press in the third quarter. Team USA racked up twenty-four points in the final ten minutes to give them the 93-63 victory.  

After a hot start, A&M ended the night with 35% accuracy in three point shooting and hit 37% from the field.  

The Aggies will be back in action when they face off with Duke on Sunday at Reed Arena.

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Chennedy Carter's big night paces Aggies in exhibition loss to Team USA

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