Story Poster
Gary Blair
Cierra Johnson
Aaliyah Wilson
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

No. 10 Texas A&M outlasts Rice, 57-53, to continue perfect start

December 20, 2020
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The No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies (8-0) defeated the Rice Owls (4-1), 57-53, Sunday afternoon in Reed Arena. Tina Langley’s Owls gave Texas A&M all they could handle, but thanks to spectacular guard play, Gary Blair’s squad remains undefeated on the season, improving to 8-0.

“Everyone is starting to buy into their roles,” senior center Ciera Johnson said after the game. “We have a lot of options to score, but first thing’s first: we just want to help the team win in any way we can.”

“Coach Blair told the team it was going to be a physical game. We found a different way to win, and it feels good going into the break undefeated.”
- A&M guard Aaliyah Wilson

With 6-foot-9 Nancy Mulkey defending the rim for Rice, the Aggies knew they had to score from the outside to find success offensively. Both Aaliyah Wilson and Alexis Morris finished with 16 points, combining for over half of the points scored by Texas A&M.

“Coach Blair told the team it was going to be a physical game,” said Wilson. “We found a different way to win, and it feels good going into the break undefeated.”

Even though the Aggies started slow offensively, they made up for it on the defensive side. After being tied at 17 following the first quarter, the Aggies only scored seven points in the second frame. Meanwhile, Rice added 11 points and took a 28-24 lead heading into halftime.

“Coach was very animated at halftime, to say the least,” Johnson said after the game.

Coming out of halftime, the Aggies were a different team. Wilson made a couple of shots coming off screens, and guard Destiny Pitts hit a big three to shift the momentum in A&M’s direction.

Leading 41-36 with less than five seconds left in the third, Morris hit her biggest shot of the day with a transition pull-up three as time expired to give the Aggies a 44-36 lead heading into the final quarter of action.

“I felt like that was a key part of the game,” said head coach Gary Blair. “In a close game like today, any sort of momentum can shift the game.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Ciera Johnson iced the game with a free throw late.

Rice continued to fight back in the final quarter, but a late free throw by Ciera Johnson to make it 57-53 with four seconds left sealed the hard-fought victory.

“We made the right plays during the right time today,” said Blair. “That final free throw by Johnson was her moment, and I knew she would make it.”

Texas A&M, now 8-0, will have an extended break for the holidays. The Aggies return to action against Northwestern State to finish out non-conference play on Monday, December 28 at 7 p.m.

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Special thanks to 12th Man Technology for their sponsorship of women's basketball postgame stories throughout the season at TexAgs! For the ninth consecutive year, WBB content will be available to you for free!

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No. 10 Texas A&M outlasts Rice, 57-53, to continue perfect start

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