MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 9 Texas A&M used a balanced scoring attack to claim its second-ever win on the road at No. 15 Kansas State, 71-45, Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 6,089 at Bramlage Coliseum.
The victory kept the Aggies (22-5, 10-4) in third place in the Big 12 Conference standings with two more games remaining in the regular season. They turned in their fourth-straight 10-win campaign under Blair heading into the upcoming Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship on March 12-15 in Oklahoma City.
For the second-straight game, the Aggies got scoring production from its bench which included a career-high tying 17 points from freshman Sydney Carter (DeSoto, Texas), a career-high eight points from freshman Kelsey Assarian (Naples, Fla.) and six points from redshirt freshman Tyra White (Kansas City, Mo.). A&M’s bench accounted for 33 of the team’s 71 overall points of the contest against the nation’s second-best scoring defense in Kansas State (21-6, 8-6).
In the first half, A&M built a 10-point lead on a three-pointer by Carter and a turnaround jumper by Gant to go up 17-7 with 11:20 left on the clock. The Aggie defense forced the Wildcats to seven of its season-high 23 turnovers in the first nine minutes of the ballgame.
Back-to-back threes by K-State’s Kari Kincaid cut the lead to nine, 22-13, with under eight minutes to go in the half. A&M would go on to lead by as many as 17 on a Carter fastbreak layup, 30-13, at 4:28. The Aggies took a 38-21 lead into halftime, but the Wildcats would open up the second half with six-straight points and a 12-4 run to cut A&M’s lead into single digits.
A&M moved out to a 19-point advantage with a bounce pass from Gant to Smith for the lay-in, 54-35, with 8:31 left to go in regulation to pick up its first road win in Manhattan in nearly 10 years since a 73-59 victory on Jan. 27, 1999 in the Peggie Gillom era. For the game, the Aggies shot 53.3 percent from the floor against the Wildcats.
Eight players contributed to the scoring column for the Aggies including senior All-America candidate Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) with 15 followed by nine from sophomore Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas), eight from junior Tanisha Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) and six from senior All-America candidate Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.).
A&M will celebrate Senior Day versus Oklahoma State (15-12, 4-10) on Thursday, March 5 at Reed Arena. Tipoff between the Aggies and Cowgirls is set for 7 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net. Aggie fans are encouraged to attend the final farewell ceremonies to honor one of the greatest senior classes in school history on Thursday.
• For the 10th time this season, Texas A&M used the starting lineup of Sydney Colson, Takia Starks, Tanisha Smith, Danielle Gant and La Toya Micheaux (8-2).
• With the victory, A&M claimed only its second-ever win in Manhattan in seven all-time trips to the Little Apple. Coach Blair also picked up his first-ever win against K-State in Manhattan in four tries in his 24-year coaching career and his first since arriving in Aggieland in 2003-04.
• A&M turned in its fourth-straight 10-win season since the league’s inception in 1996-97 and under Blair.
• Takia Starks continues on her double-digit scoring streak through Big 12 Conference play with 15 points at Kansas State for her 14th-straight double-figure game against league opponents.
• Sydney Carter turned in her third double-digit game against Big 12 opponents and fourth overall this season with a game-high 17 points. It marked her league career-high for points ahead of her previous high of 13 points against Nebraska on Feb. 8. It also tied a career-best 17 points against Pepperdine on Nov. 29.
• The Aggies reached 71 points against Kansas State who ranked second in the nation in scoring defense prior to Sunday’s contest at 51.7 points per game. It marked the 12th time A&M has reached 70-or-more points in a game this season.
• A&M shot 53.3 percent from the floor (32-of-60) against K-State. It marked the Aggies’ second-best shooting percentage of the season against an opponent.
• Freshman Kelsey Assarian came off the bench in relief of A&M’s post players in foul trouble and turned in a career-high eight points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field against the Wildcats.
• For the third consecutive game, the A&M defense forced a Big 12 opponent to commit 20-or-more turnovers. Kansas State had a season-high 23 miscues. The Aggies also held the Wildcats to their second-fewest points in the series (45) next to 39 in a 66-39 rout on Jan. 11, 2006 in College Station.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
On Kansas State and the game …
“(Shalee) Lehning wrote the book. She is the closest player to a Sue Bird I have seen. Of course, we played against her at about 50 percent today. She gave all she had with her 50 percent. We tried to keep fresh people in the game. The difference in our team right now is our point guard play. We’ve been on the road this season and haven’t been able to get it done. I thought (Sydney) Carter and (Sydney) Colson were outstanding today. Look at their stats and what they did. We ran almost every play I had in my book and everything was working on the offensive end for us. I would like to give a lot credit to our team for withstanding what we just went through against Texas and Oklahoma. Those were very physical games. Today, wasn’t a physical game. It was an executed game. We did well on the defensive end. We forced the team that leads the Big 12 in fewest turnovers to 23. I thought we did an outstanding job.”
On heading into the Big 12 Tournament …
“My goal is to get in that two or three seed to get away from Oklahoma. I like my basketball team. We are a very, very unselfish team. We just played well. This is the best overall game that we have played this year, not to take anything away from Kansas State. They are banged up right now.”
Texas A&M Freshman Guard Sydney Carter
On the game …
“My team and coaches had a lot of confidence in me being able to come into the game, lead the team, score some baskets and play defense as well. This win was really important to us. It is going to keep on sparking our little winning streak, keep on giving us confidence that we can play good basketball and keep it on a roll.”