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Joni Taylor
Petticord & Malone
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

'Better Together': Shorthanded Ags snap skid with resilient win vs. SMU

December 18, 2022
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Depleted but not defeated.

In their first game at Reed Arena in 21 days, an extremely shorthanded Texas A&M (5-4) women’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing skid on Sunday afternoon by downing a surging SMU (8-3), 57-49.

“We are better when we are all together, moving in the right direction, sharing the basketball and on the same page,” Texas A&M head coach Joni Taylor said. “I thought we were today. We had to be. We executed our game plan. It takes all of us.”

Injuries left the Aggies with only seven available players and without the services of leading scorer Janiah Barker and starting point guard McKinzie Green, among others.

“We just kind of sucked it up. We knew what we had going into the game, and you know, that’s all we had,” forward Jada Malone said. “We were going to communicate and play as hard as we could. We might get tired, but we were going to push through that wall today. I think we did that pretty well.”

In a complete team effort, five of the seven Aggies reached double figures to beat the Mustangs, led by Malone’s 12 points off the bench.

“We are better when we are all together, moving in the right direction, sharing the basketball and on the same page. I thought we were today. We had to be. We executed our game plan. It takes all of us.”
- A&M head coach Joni Taylor

“We’re a team that, if we’re playing well, hopefully, that’s what our box score looks like,” Taylor said. “We are not a team that one player is going to carry us for 20. That’s not who we are. That’s not our style of play. I thought we shared the ball really well.”

Starters Sydney Bowles, Kay Kay Green and Aaliyah Patty added 10 each, while true freshman Mya Petticord stepped up in a reserve role to add all 10 of her points in the second quarter alone.

“We knew we were limited coming into the game,” Petticord said. “So just picking our spots, making the right decisions, listening to coach and following the game plan, I feel like we did most of the plan.”

While a lack of depth wore on the Aggies at times in the second half, Taylor credited the Maroon & White’s grit, toughness and execution of their game plan as key reasons for the win.

“We tell them all the time that you can do hard things,” Taylor said. “This is going to be hard, but you can do it. Life is hard. Work is hard. Being in a relationship is hard when you get older. You can do hard things, and you better figure that out right now.”

Beyond overcoming the limited bench, Taylor’s bunch also found a way to finish a game late, something that plagued the Aggies in losses to Rice and Little Rock.

Zoe Kelton, TexAgs
The Aggies controlled the glass 39-37 with eight offensive boards and 11 second-chance points. 

“It’s the mental part of doing everything we can to get them to understand what is possible,” Taylor said. “Because, sometimes, as young people, you don’t see it. If you’ve never been in that situation, it’s hard to trust it. This game was really good for us in all of those ways.”

With 8:35 remaining, SMU’s Jasmine Smith drilled a 3-pointer to cut A&M’s lead to 42-41. While the Aggies and Mustangs proceeded to trade baskets, A&M never relinquished the lead.

“I think we knew that we could do that, but just to see us actually do it is something completely different,” Malone said.

Patty’s triple with 5:10 left put A&M up 53-47 as a Kay Kay Green jumper plus 4-of-6 free-throws down the stretch iced the victory.

“It was a team effort,” Taylor said. “We finally put four quarters together, and I’m not sure we’ve done that this year.”

Spurning SMU’s attempt at a fourth-quarter rally was not the only time A&M squashed Mustang momentum.

The Aggies saw an eight-point halftime advantage completely evaporate as SMU opened the second half on an 8-0 run.

Zoe Kelton, TexAgs
A&M held the Mustangs to a lackluster 30 percent shooting from the field. 

Tied 34-34 in the third period, A&M embarked on an 8-0 run of its own. While SMU whittled the deficit down to one in the fourth, the Aggies ultimately kept the visitors from pulling even or ahead.

“I think we all hit a wall at one point, especially in the third quarter when they went on their little run,” Malone said. “It’s just a wall that you have to get by. At the end of the day, we knew we had to push through it.”

SMU entered Sunday on a seven-game winning streak, but it was the scuffling Aggies that refused to be denied.

“For us, another saying for this year is ‘Better Together,’” Malone said. “I think that definitely showed today.”

Still hoping to get healthier, Texas A&M now faces a quick turnaround as the Aggies conclude non-conference play against Purdue on Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT in College Station.

“We’re getting better,” Taylor said. “We still have a ton to learn.”

Discussion from...

'Better Together': Shorthanded Ags snap skid with resilient win vs. SMU

2,990 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by jigsaw87
Bucketrunner
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"We tell them all the time that you can do hard things," Taylor said. "This is going to be hard, but you can do it. Life is hard. Work is hard. Being in a relationship is hard when you get older. You can do hard things, and you better figure that out right now."

Really learning to love this coach.
AggieSports
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AG
Life lessons! Coach Taylor is special! Made me think of this comment from Ross at Joni's introductory press conferenceā€¦
Hnander
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Let's see how everybody feels after going 0-16 in the SECthis year. It could happen. I like Coach Taylor a lot and think she will do well here down the road. This year is going to get ugly.
hnander
Bucketrunner
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We absolutely could. But I still like the choice She'll get there. And win or lose, this style of play is fun to watch.
jigsaw87
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