AMES, Iowa – No. 4 Texas A&M had a season-low scoring effort which contributed to a 67-50 loss at No. 21 Iowa State, 67-50, Wednesday night before a crowd of 10,278 at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones (17-4, 5-2) snapped a three-game winning streak by the Aggies (17-4, 5-3) who remained winless in Ames in seven tries. They are now 5-3 against top 25 competition this season as ISU was their fifth ranked opponent in the last six games. A&M previously won its last two road games in league play at No. 24 Oklahoma State on Jan. 24 and at No. 16 Texas on Jan. 28.
Senior All-America candidate Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) was the only A&M player to score in double figures with a team-high 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. The Aggies led only once in the ballgame on a layup by junior Tanisha Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) at the 15:39 minute mark of the first half.
Three Iowa State players reached double digits including a game-high 25 points by Heather Ezell who connected on 7-of-13 three-pointers from downtown including four-straight threes to open up the second half of play which would hamper any comeback made by A&M. The Cyclones would go on to win the battle of the boards with an opponent season-high 43 which matched No. 2 Oklahoma’s board count on Jan. 18 in Norman.
Kelsey Bolte had 13 of the Cyclones’ 33 first-half points and ended the night with 17, while Amanda Nisleit added 10. With less than six seconds on the game clock, Alison Lacey pushed the ball up the court and heaved a last-second three to send ISU into the lockerroom with a 33-21 lead.
Though the Cyclones shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the first half, they beat the Aggies 11-0 on the offensive glass and scored 12 second-chance points. A&M had a short run courtesy of Starks, senior All-America candidate Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and sophomore Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas) after the break, but could not erase its 12-point halftime deficit to any fewer than 10 in the second half. Colson and Gant contributed six points in the road loss.
Up next, A&M will host its third-straight Big 12 North opponent in Nebraska (10-10, 1-6) in a matinee game scheduled on Sunday, Feb. 8 at Reed Arena. Tipoff between the Aggies and Cornhuskers is set for 2 p.m. (CT). A&M will welcome back more than 30 former players from all eras of Aggie Basketball in a women’s basketball reunion weekend in College Station.
• For the seventh time this year, Texas A&M used the starting five of Sydney Colson, Takia Starks, Tanisha Smith, Danielle Gant and La Toya Micheaux (5-2).
• Iowa State improves to 14-4 in the all-time series with A&M. With the loss, the Aggies are now 0-7 when playing on the road in Ames.
• Takia Starks registered her eighth-straight double-digit game with a team-high 18 points against the Cyclones. She surpassed former All-American Lisa Branch (1992-96) with a three-pointer at the 12:38 minute mark of the first half to become Texas A&M’s all-time career three-point leader (167). Her eight-game double-digit scoring streak is her longest of the season. Starks went 53.3 percent from the field (8-of-15) to mark her seventh shooting performance of the season in the 50-percent or better range.
• Iowa State drained an opponent season-high 10 three-pointers behind an opponent season-high seven threes courtesy of Heather Ezell. ISU held A&M to its fewest first-half points (21) next to 21 at Oklahoma State on Jan. 24. The Aggies scored a season-low 50 points with its preview low coming at Arizona (54) on Nov. 25.
• Sophomore Maryann Baker came off the bench and played a league career-high six minutes against the Cyclones.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
On Iowa State and the game …
“You have to be awfully proud your team. I don’t think you realize how good of a coach you have here. He was totally prepared and it all boils down to execution. It’s not the threes that beat us by (Heather) Ezell and she was hot out there. What beat us was the execution from their other players; players that don’t get a lot of credit. T-Kay did a good job tonight for us. (Amanda) Nisleit is a very good role player on their team and does the littlest things right. (Kelsey) Bolte played very well. Life on the road in front of 10,000 knowledgeable fans is tough. You have something special going here. I’m sorry you had to see the No. 4 team in the country lay an egg, but you saw the No. 21 team play like the No. 4 team in the country. They are very deserving. You saw our team struggle tonight, but that doesn’t take away from what Iowa State did. This was a well-executed game.”
On Iowa State’s rebounding margin …
“We had kids not ready to play tonight. They (Iowa State) were rebounding with two or three players and not five. They wanted the ball more. We had zero offensive rebounds even with as many bricks we had. That’s just a lack of effort. They were snatching the ball and wanted the ball. Again that is due to coaching, effort and preparation.”
Texas A&M Senior Guard Takia Starks
On the game …
“I was very surprised on how we played as a whole tonight. Like Coach (Blair) said in the locker room, we just quit and I’ve never played with a team like that. Our young players made mistakes and we made mistakes in our defensive assignments. It was not our best effort tonight.”
On Heather Ezell’s play …
“You can’t let her hit threes. She is really a great player and it’s hard to keep track of her on the court.”
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