COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Close to 300 fans were treated to a sneak preview of the Texas A&M women’s basketball team as Maroon defeated White, 85-62, in an open scrimmage held Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena.
During the 50-minute session, the Aggies used the first two quarters for intersquad play, while the remaining three quarters were contested against the men’s practice squad.
Returning All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection and senior All-America candidate Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) scored a team-high 18 points, while preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Tanisha Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) recorded 16 points in her unofficial Aggie debut.
For most of the scrimmage, Gant shared point guard duties with All-Big 12 performer and preseason first team All-America Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) who contributed eight points to the offense. Both Aggies have taken on that role due to injuries to sophomore point guard Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas), who is recovering from ACL surgery in June, and freshman point guard Sydney Carter (DeSoto, Texas), who suffered a sprained ankle in practice.
As a team, the Aggies shot 48 percent from the floor. Freshman Skylar Collins (Cedar Hill, Texas) turned in a balanced stat line with 12 points, five rebounds and six steals, while preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyra White (Kansas City, Mo.) added 11 points including the team’s lone three-pointer of the scrimmage.
“The bar has been set so high for us,” said Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair who enters his sixth season in Aggieland. “What our players have to realize is that we cannot come out and just walk on the court. We have to execute. We’ll get better on the offensive end. We really needed this scrimmage to see the importance of conditioning and the importance of taking care of the ball.”
Senior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas) led all post players with 12 rebounds and registered a near double-double with eight points. Freshman Adaora Elonu (Houston, Texas) added nine boards, while junior Damitria Buchanan (Houston, Texas) had six points.
Blair was pleased with A&M’s half-court defense, especially from the Maroon squad in the first two quarters. “We were in the passing lanes and we were creating turnovers,” he said.
The Aggies held a meet and greet session with fans after the scrimmage and passed out schedule cards. A&M will also hold a closed scrimmage with North Texas on Oct. 31, prior to playing an exhibition game against the Houston Jaguars on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. The Aggies open the season at home versus Mercer on Friday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m.
“Overall, it was a good start for us,” Blair said. “The positive of the day was that the (Dallas) Cowboys won and the soccer team beat Colorado in overtime. Our football team won at Iowa State and the volleyball team beat Kansas on Saturday, so it was a very good weekend to be an Aggie. We appreciate the crowd coming out to see us play on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, they were able to get a taste of what our new players can do. We have a pretty special team this year.”