COLLEGE STATION-- No. 11 Texas A&M showed no effects of an eight-day holiday layoff, as the Aggies posted a season-best offensive showing and routed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 85-48 Sunday afternoon before 3,804 at Reed Arena.
The game marked the final tuneup for A&M (12-1) before heading into a daunting SEC schedule that kicks off Thursday at No. 20 Arkansas.
After shaking off a very brief slow start, Texas A&M took its first lead 4 minutes into the game and never looked back. The Aggies scored 18 of the final 20 points of the quarter and cruised into the period break up 21-7.
A&M had the Islanders doubled up at halftime, 42-21, and held a 32-point lead after three frames.
A&M-Corpus Christi (8-4) saw its four-game win streak snapped in the loss.
Texas A&M's next opponent, Arkansas, will enter the showdown at 12-1 and riding a 7-game win streak following a 96-46 win over UT Martin on Sunday.
The game will tip at 8 p.m. Thursday from Bud Walton Arena and will air nationally on SEC Network Plus. Fans can also hear the game locally on The Zone (1150 AM/93.7 FM) and along the Texas A&M Sports Network.
· Texas A&M's 85 points in the win marked a season high for the team.
· The Aggies held A&M-Corpus Christi to just seven points in the first quarter, limiting their opponent to single digit scoring in a quarter for the 10th time this season and the second time in the first quarter.
· A&M held the Islanders to a 30.9 shooting percentage, marking the seventh time this season the Aggies have forced their opponents to shoot under 40-percent.
· The Aggies scored 20-plus points in each quarter for the first time this season.
· Texas A&M used a starting lineup of Chennedy Carter, Shambria Washington, Kayla Wells, N'dea Jones and Ciera Johnson for the 13th time this season.
· Junior guard Chennedy Carter put up 22 points in the game, scoring in double figures for the 52nd consecutive game and making it six straight games with 20-plus points.
· Junior forward N'dea Jones recorded her third double-double of the season, 13th of her career, after a 13-point 16-rebound performance.
· Junior forward Ciera Johnson joined Carter and Jones in double figures with 16 points, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line for her 10th game in double figures this season.
· Despite battling foul trouble the entire game, junior guard Kayla Wells added 17 points in the win.
· Senior guard Shambria Washington tallied five assists, marking the sixth time this season she has had five-plus assists.
· Freshman guard McKinzie Green dished out a season high five assists in the game.
· Head coach Gary Blair moves to 803-323 in his head coaching career, 395-160 in his 17 years at Texas A&M.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“We got out to a slow start, but we found our way by forcing a few turnovers. I was disappointed early on because our post players were 3-for-11 in the first half. We have to learn how to get the ball deeper into the post against teams that are not shot blockers. We keep shooting the ball because we’re open, and we’ve had this problem all year long, we have to get our post players off to a good start so we can create and-one’s and get into our press defense a little bit quicker. Our post players did a much better job in the second half. There were four kids in double figures this afternoon and 11 kids played. We were efficient at the free throw line too; our kids did a good job in that regard.”
On how prepared the team is for SEC play…
“We’re ready for SEC play only by our record, not by our improvement. We need to be getting better, improving, and correcting our mistakes. We can’t just turn it on when we’re playing a Florida State or an Arkansas or a Georgia Tech. We have to do a better job of game planning and playing hard from the opening tip. When we do that, maybe it’ll happen during conference play, we’ll be a better team that will know how to play 40 minutes.”
On the team’s upcoming matchup against Arkansas…
“If we get into a complete transition game with them, it’ll be like our scrimmage against the U.S. Women’s National Team. They want to run and shoot the ball within seven seconds, that’s their coaches’ philosophy. They want to drive the ball and kick it out for three or score in transition. If you get in there and try to trade baskets with them, we’ll be playing to their strengths. Our strength is the balance between our inside game and our outside shooting. We need to be better than we were today at stopping the drive.”
Junior Center Ciera Johnson
On the team’s performance…
“We started off the game really well. In the second quarter we kind of slipped up a little bit. We just have to play a little better going into Arkansas, because they’re a very well-coached team with fantastic players. So, we have to be a little more focused throughout the entire game or else we’re going to lose to Arkansas.”
On the team’s rebounding effort…
“The boards were fine. I think we gave up a few offensive rebounds. They were stuck with nine for a while, and they finished with nine. So, I thought we did pretty good on the boards. Coach [Bob] Starkey said he wanted us to dominate the boards, and I think we did that.”
On this game preparing the team for SEC play…
“Considering the way we played, it was okay. We have to be a lot better, because Arkansas is a very well-coached team. They’re going to get after us. It’s the first game of SEC play, so they’re going to be fired up. We had some slip-ups. If we don’t maintain the level of play we had throughout the first quarter, then we will have a tough time against Arkansas. I think if we stay on that level of play we had through the first quarter, then we will be just fine.”