Texas A&M Rings in the New Year with 80-57 Victory Over Rice

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COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Texas A&M opened 2013 in a similar fashion to how 2012 ended, with an impressive offensive performance led by Junior Kelsey Bone. The Aggies were victorious over the Rice Owls by a score of 80-57 Tuesday afternoon.

Bone continued her torrid pace of play leading the game in both points and rebounds with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Tuesday’s performance was Bone’s fifth double-double of the season and 19th of her career. The Houston native nearly had her first career first half double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds at the break. During Bone’s seven-game hot streak she is averaging 23.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, having scored at least 15 points and pulling down at least seven rebounds in each game over the stretch. Bone now ranks second in the SEC in both scoring (18.1) and rebounding (9.4) on the season.

The Aggies jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game with Senior Adrienne Pratcher scoring the first four A&M points. The run continued over the next four minutes when the Aggies led 20-6 with 14:33 remaining in the game. Freshman Courtney Williams and Courtney Walker combined for eight points in the run.

The Aggies scored 49 points in the first 20 minutes for a new season high in first half points, having led 49-30 at the break. During the opening period A&M controlled the points in the paint outscoring the Owls 32-16 and owned a 23-4 advantage in points off of turnovers. Pratcher had an impressive first 20 minutes with five points and a game-high eight assists. At the intermission Senior Kristi Bellock was 4-of-5 from the floor for eight points and three rebounds.

“The offense in the first 15 minutes was as good as I’ve seen it all season,” Head Coach Gary Blair said. “We had all five players contributing. It’s starting to come together hopefully at the right time. I’m pleased with our effort. Bone and Gilbert were terrific inside.”

Rice opened the second half with a 6-2 run to cut the Aggie lead to 15, but the Owls would get no closer for the remainder of the game. In the second half Bone controlled the paint going 5-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the free throw line for 12 points. After the break A&M continued dominating inside with a 26-14 advantage of points in the paint and outscored the Owls 10-1 in points off turnovers.

Pratcher’s impressive night of 11 points and nine assists versus only one turnover catapulted her to the lead in the SEC for assist-to-turnover ratio (3.1). Spearheaded by Pratcher’s play the Aggie offense continued the trend of sharing the basketball having tallied 18 assists against Rice. Tuesday’s game marked the fifth straight game with at least 18 assists for the A&M offense, the Aggies are averaging 21.4 over that stretch. During the stretch Pratcher has had at least six assists in each game and has averaged 8.4 assists per game over the last five games.

Bellock continued her efficient play this season ending the game with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting along with four rebounds and three assists. Junior Karla Gilbert also scored in double figures with 12 points along with five rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 20 minutes off the bench.

The Aggies will return to Reed Arena to open SEC play against Alabama on Thursday at 8 p.m. The game will be the second part of a basketball double-header with Men’s Basketball playing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday will continue the Half-Price Holiday Hoops promotion along with inaugural SEC t-shirts being handed out at the game.

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