WACO, Texas – In a battle of the Big 12 Conference’s top two teams, a last-second three-pointer by Angela Tisdale sealed the victory for No. 8 Baylor as the Lady Bears escaped No. 12 Texas A&M, 59-56, Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center.
Tisdale, who went 0-of-10 from the three-point line prior to her game-winning shot with 36 seconds left, was one of four Baylor players to reach double figures in the ballgame with 15. Danielle Wilson and Rachel Allison had 16 and 14 respectively.
For the game, both the Aggies (12-4, 0-2) and Lady Bears (14-1, 2-0) played neck-to-neck with the lead changing on 11 occasions and with nine ties. Neither team lead by more than six points through two halves.
Junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) paced A&M with a career-best 16 points in five meetings against BU since her freshman campaign in 2005-06. Seniors Patrice Reado (Houston, Texas) and A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) each had eight points, while junior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas) and senior Morenike Atunrase (Shreveport, La.) had seven.
After shooting a season-low 30.6 percent against Kansas State in its league opener on Wednesday, A&M shot a much-improved 49.0 percent from the floor which marked a season-high and best field goal percentage in the Gary Blair Era.
Thirteen fouls were called in the first half of play against A&M, but the Lady Bears were only able to convert 4-of-12 attempts from the charity stripe. They later made up for their free throw misfortunes and went 15-of-16 in the second half to keep them in the ballgame.
Franklin converted a three-point play to pull the Aggies to within one with 15 seconds to play, 57-56. Tisdale then made two more free throws with 15 seconds left for the final margin. Starks’ three-point attempt with two seconds left fell short and Wilson grabbed the rebound to seal the win for the Lady Bears.
Up next, A&M travels to No. 23 Colorado (12-2, 1-0) for a Wednesday, Jan. 16 matchup at 8 p.m. (CT) in Boulder, Colo.
Postgame Notes…For the second time this season, A&M used the veteran starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Patrice Reado and La Toya Micheaux (0-2) in its two Big 12 Conference opening games…The Aggies were in foul trouble all afternoon with two fouls each on veterans Morenike Atunrase, Micheaux, Reado, Franklin and Gant in the first half alone…The Aggies had a total of 23 fouls called on them as Baylor converted them into 19 of its final 59 points…A&M shot a season-high 49.0 percent (24-of-49) from the floor in the loss…It marked the first time A&M lost when shooting better than 47 percent next to shooting 48.3 percent in a 88-72 loss to ninth-ranked Minnesota on Nov. 28, 2003 in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas and shooting 47.4 percent in a 65-59 loss at Washington on Dec. 6, 2006 in Seattle, Wash…It was the best shooting percentage in a ballgame in the Gary Blair Era…Baylor was one of only two A&M opponent this season to shoot fewer than 30 percent from the floor with the Lady Bears shooting 29.2 percent (19-of-65) and New Orleans shooting an opponent season-low 27.7 percent on Dec. 9…Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair was honored prior to the game alongside former La. Tech and Baylor head coach Sonja Hogg, former La. Tech head coach Leon Barmore, Kodak All-American Angela Turner Johnson and current Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey…The fivesome were honored for Louisiana Tech’s 1981-82 team which won the first-ever NCAA women’s basketball championship title in 1982…Blair served as an assistant coach at La. Tech from 1980-85…The A&M at Baylor game was one of only a pair of top 25 marquee matchups in the Big 12 Conference and in the country along with No. 6 Oklahoma at No. 25 Oklahoma State on Saturday…Starks turned in her 15th double-digit game this season with a career-best and team-high 16 points against Baylo which erased a previous career-high of 14 in Waco last season…She had four of the team’s 33 rebounds and is averaging a career-best 4.3 boards per game this year…Saturday’s game marked the 16th time a ranked Aggie squad faced another ranked squad in school history…A&M is now 7-9 all-time in those meetings…It was the fifth time a ranked A&M squad faced a ranked Baylor squad…The Lady Bears take a one-game advantage in the all-time series, 37-36.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
On the game, last possession and talent on both teams …
“Our kids just went out there and put it all out on the line. We got into foul trouble early and we had to switch to a zone, which we do not like to switch to because it takes our aggressiveness away from us. With the fouls that we had early, and as tight as the officials were calling, we were making some technique fouls and we had to make some adjustments. They hit a key basket before the half which gave them momentum. That last possession, (Angela) Tisdale goes 0-for-10 from behind the three-point line and then hits the game-winning shot. Tisdale and (Aqua) Franklin are two guards that not a lot people wanted and now, they are probably two of the best points guards in the league. They have turned into very good point guards, because of their leadership and taking good shots. The bull’s eye is on us and the bull’s eye was on Baylor’s back after they won the national championship. Roads will lead to College Station. We have turned College Station into a basketball power. You start with kids like the ones we have recruited. You don’t have to be a Parade All-American to play this game.”
On Baylor …
“To think how far women’s basketball has come is mind-boggling. Look at the athletes we have now. You just saw a hell of a basketball game. That’s what this league is all about. Give them credit. They were sending four to the boards. We just have to do a better job. That was the game. They had 26-to-7 on offensive boards and we only forced 11 turnovers. The whole second half we tried to run some overload sets. I thought we were doing a good job of contesting shots.”
On the A&M and Baylor rivalry and the high emotion of the game …
“I think it has to deal with the competitive juices that we (Gary Blair and Kim Mulkey) have in each other. We talk on the phone enough. We recruit the same kids. Right now, Waco and College Station have never been thought of as destination cities for college basketball for men or women. Now all of a sudden, it’s becoming that.”
TEXAS A&M SENIOR POINT GUARD A’QUONESIA FRANKLIN
On finding a rhythm …
“Coach Blair said to play ugly and that is what it was. Both teams played ugly and had loose balls. Rachel Allison did a great job of finding them. Our posts did a good job of hedging out over (Danielle) Wilson or Allison. We play in your face basketball and Baylor plays in your face basketball.”
BAYLOR HEAD COACH KIM MULKEY
On the game …
“Our kids fought hard. They fought their hearts out. We had seven basketball players fighting, rebounding and hanging in there. I’ve won a lot of basketball games and won championships. This ranks up their with one of those championships. She (Angela Tisdale) did what she needed to do and never got rattled. A&M is used to pushing and shoving and gets away with what they can. You have to take them off the glass and not let them get second and third chances and that’s what we did.”
BAYLOR JUNIOR FORWARD RACHEL ALLISON
On the game and playing in the Big 12 …
“Every night in the Big 12 is going to be tough and physical. We played very well considering the mentality of the game. This is a league where anyone can win at any time on any floor. It was just a big win for us. They were picked to win the Big 12. We played hard and played with a lot of emotion.”