COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Four players scored in double figures to lead the 11th-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team to a 19-point rout of preseason SWAC favorite Prairie View A&M, 73-54, Thursday night at Reed Arena.
Junior Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) paced the Aggies (2-0) with a game-high 17 points in the team’s home season opener, while junior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas) turned in her third career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) and freshman Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas) chipped in 14 and 12 respectively.
A&M went into the lockerroom with just a 32-27 advantage at halftime, but used a second-half rally to stretch the lead by as many as 24 points with 2:20 remaining in regulation. Prairie View A&M (1-3) was the first of 10 A&M opponents this season to reach the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The Lady Panthers committed 34 turnovers in the ballgame despite shooting 46.5 percent from the floor (20-of-43). They were led in scoring by SWAC Freshman of the Year Gaati Werema who had 14.
With the win, A&M extended its home court win streak to 19-straight games at Reed Arena. For the ballgame, the Aggies shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the floor and went 20-of-24 from the free throw line behind a 9-for-10 performance by Micheaux. A&M made 21 steals versus Prairie View which was seven short of the Reed Arena record.
Up next, A&M will travel to the 2007 Paradise Jam to face Wichita State, Wake Forest and Indiana on Nov. 22-24 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Postgame Notes…Texas A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Ashlaa Horton and Damitria Buchanan…It marked the first career start for Buchanan and second career start for Horton who are both sophomores…Buchanan tied a career-best with two blocked shots in 13 minutes of play…The Aggies stole the ball 21 times which marked only the second time in two seasons to strip the ball more than 20 times versus an opponent…A&M last had 20-or-more steals against Western Illinois on Jan. 2, 2007…Starks recorded her eighth-straight double-digit game with 14 points versus Prairie View A&M…Her streak dates back to the last six games of the 2006-07 season…It also marked Gant’s 27th career game to reach double figures…Junior La Toya Micheaux drained a career-best 9-of-10 (.900) free throws and turned in her third career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds…The Aggies won the battle of the boards, 39-27…Freshman Sydney Colson came off the bench to record back-to-back double-digit performances in her first two collegiate outings with 12 versus Prairie View and 13 at SMU last week…Both teams combined for a total of 61 turnovers with the A&M defense forcing PVAMU to turnover the ball 34 times in the contest…Senior La Toya Gulley played saw 10 minutes of action and had four points and one steal in the winning cause…She will receive her Aggie Ring on Friday…A&M has now won 19-straight home games at Reed Arena.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
On the game …
“They (Prairie View A&M) were mixing it up and we were not attacking their zone and making the pass. It was just too many in-betweens. We had to rely on our defense in the second half. It sure didn’t feel like a 20-point win, because we had to work hard. We could not press them because we are not in a good shape to do so and there’s no excuse for that. We just played three-straight games playing 120 minutes of man-to-man defense. If we are going to force turnovers, we are going to have to do a better job. It’s not shooting the ball, its execution and getting the right read. We will work on it, because we have to get better as a basketball team. If we had been on the road this would have been a toss-up game. Our fans generated enough energy to keep us in the ballgame. I don’t think I’ve ever won a ballgame winning with 27 turnovers. We are not focusing on what we need to do in practice. We have to do a better job of executing.”
FRESHMAN GUARD SYDNEY COLSON
On her first career game at Reed Arena …
“I came out a little sluggish in the first half, but I think everyone did. We weren’t forcing enough turnovers and we were making too many turnovers ourselves. We found a rhythm in the second half, but we have to start coming out in the first half, so we don’t have to put a lot of pressure on ourselves in the second half. I think we came out too slow and underestimated this team. We should have come out much harder, but we picked it up in the second half and pulled away.”
JUNIOR FORWARD/GUARD DANIELLE GANT
On the game …
“We were just not ready for Prairie View. They came out to prove something and came out with a good start. We just picked up our defense and had a lot of transition buckets in the second half.”
JUNIOR CENTER LA TOYA MICHEAUX
On the team’s slow start against Prairie View A&M …
“There are no excuses. We should be coming out hard and strong and we didn’t. In the second half, we had some rotations and had some blocked shots. We were being Texas A&M. We are a very strong team, but we played a bad first half.”
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M HEAD COACH CYNTHIA COOPER-DYKE
On the game …
“We turned the ball over way too much and we could not rebound. When we ran our fast break, we had good looks. Give A&M credit. They came out aggressive on the boards and caused us to have a hard time rebounding. A&M did a good job, but I hate to lose. We are not where we want to be as a team right now.”