No. 11 Texas A&M Gets Program Win No. 500 in 62-57 Victory at SMU

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Dallas - Sophomore Ashlaa Horton turned in her first career double-double to lead the 11th-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team to the program’s 500th all-time win with a 62-57 victory at SMU Friday night at Moody Coliseum.

The Cedar Hill native registered 10 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds in the team’s season opener on the road. She was one of three double figure scorers for the Aggies. Junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) poured had 17 points, while freshman Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas) added 13 in her collegiate debut.

A&M got into foul trouble early and sent SMU to the charity stripe where they converted 17-of-23 in the first half of play. The Mustangs carried a 10-point halftime lead into the lockerroom, 36-26.

The Aggies responded in the second half with a 19-4 second half run which was sparked by increased defensive pressure on SMU. Senior A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) drained a long-range three-pointer to give A&M its first lead at the 15:01 minute mark in the second half, 39-38. A&M previously led 7-1 at the start of regulation.

For the game, A&M shot 38.1 percent from the floor and outrebounded SMU, 45-35. The Mustangs were led in scoring by Delisha Wills (17) and Janielle Dodds (15). The Aggie defense forced SMU to turnover the ball 20 times in the ballgame.

Up next, the Aggies play host to the U.S. National Team in exhibition play on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. at Reed Arena. A&M will then face Prairie View A&M in its home season opener on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Postgame Notes…Texas A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Ashlaa Horton and La Toya Micheaux…It marked the first career start for Horton who hails from nearby Cedar Hill, Texas…Horton scored A&M’s first points of the 2007-08 season with a three-pointer at the 18:57 minute mark…She had career-highs in rebounds (15) and blocks (2)…Gant started for the 20th time of her career and had nine boards versus SMU…Freshmen Sydney Colson and Tyra White made their collegiate debuts…Colson scored her first career points as an Aggie with a three-pointer to tie the game up at 14-14 in the first half of play…She ended the night with 13 points and four assists with no turnovers…A&M was called for 27 personal fouls with five players with more than three fouls including four of the starting five…The Aggies committed 14 turnovers in the first half, but minimized them in the second half with six...Former A&M players Amy Yates (1997-99), Jennifer Burrows (1997-00), Martha McClelland (1993-96) and Meg Banahan (2000-02) were among the 2,119 in attendance at Moody Coliseum…With the win, A&M claimed its second-straight victory in the all-time series versus SMU and its 500th program win in 34 all-time seasons of Aggie Basketball.

POSTGAME QUOTES

TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR

On the game …

“Let’s give SMU a lot of credit. They were beating us off the dribble and we were fouling in the first half. We were doing a decent job on (Janielle) Dodds, but (Delisha) Wills got hot in the first half and got off the break. When you shoot 17-of-23 from the free throw line that’s too many fouls on us. They did a good job on defense. We need to learn to adjust especially on the road. I thought we played very smart on defense in the second half. Winning ugly on the road is sometimes what you have to do. When you are not at your best, you have to find a way to win. Our Aggie crowd did a good job of keeping us in the game. Overall, I thought it was a good college basketball game for a first basketball game. I really respect Rhonda Rompola and what she has done here at SMU.”

On the play of the underclassmen …

“Ashlaa (Horton) was a warrior on the boards tonight. I thought our kids played through a lot of pain. (Sydney) Colson was the catalyst in the second half. Most of her points in the second half were timely threes, because it wasn’t Aqua’s best night. Let’s give our defense in the second half some credit. We put more ball pressure on them and we had good rotation. They are a great free throw shooting team. We had to play more zone than what we normally do, because we had our foul problems. We are a banged up basketball team right now and I don’t know who’s going to be left to play the USA Basketball team on Sunday.”

SOPHOMORE FORWARD ASHLAA HORTON

On her first career start and first career double-double …

“My grandmother, friends and family all came out to watch tonight. It (her first career start) was a lot of nerves at first, but I knew that if I played within myself and let the game come to me, everything would work out. I am just excited that we won and came out with a victory. We knew we had to pick it up on defense in the second half. Once we picked it up, we knew we weren’t going to let it go.”