COLLEGE STATION – The No. 15 Texas A&M women's basketball team ran away with a 72-53 victory over the Missouri Tigers at Reed Arena Sunday afternoon.
The victory was the 400th for Gary Blair as head coach of the Aggies. Included in those wins are 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2011 National Championship.
The Aggies placed four in double figures, led by Kayla Wells' 18-point afternoon.
A&M got out to a double-digit lead early and never looked back. Junior forward N'dea Jones made it eight straight double-doubles with 10 points and 13 rebounds in the game.
The Aggies got out to a 9-0 start in the game, scoring the first four points in the game and forcing Missouri to burn an early timeout less than a minute into the game. The Tigers were able to close out the first period on an 8-0 run, but A&M still held a 17-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Aggies used a 10-3 run before the second quarter media timeout to get their lead back to double figures and position themselves to take a 33-22 advantage into the halftime break.
A&M used an 11-0 run to close out the third quarter to take a 55-33 lead into the final period and never let the Tigers get back in it.
The Aggies dished out 22 assists, marking the fourth time this season they have had 21-or-more assists in a game.
The Aggies held their opponent to under 40% shooting for the 13th time this year. They have not lost a game in this situation.
Entering the game, Texas A&M had the 10th-best rebounding margin in the country, and out-rebounded the Tigers, 40-31.
Texas A&M outscored Missouri in the paint, 28-12.
Texas A&M used a starting lineup of Aaliyah Wilson, Shambria Washington, Kayla Wells, N’dea Jones and Ciera Johnson for the fourth time this season.
Junior forward Kayla Wells led the team in scoring with 18 points, marking the fourth-straight game with double-digit scoring.
Junior forward N’dea Jones recorded 10 points and 13 rebounds for her career-high eighth straight double-double.
Jones recorded her 20th career double-double, giving her sole possession of third on A&M’s all-time career list.
Junior center Ciera Johnson had 10 points, marking her 12th straight game in double figures.
Junior guard Aaliyah Wilson recorded a career-high four steals.
Senior guard Shambria Washington’s 11 points marked her second straight double-digit output, the first time this season.
Washington also had seven assists and two turnovers, making it the 10th time this season she has had five-or-more assists, and the 15th time she’s had two-or-fewer turnovers.
Senior guard Jasmine Williams matched her career high in rebounds with six, and went 2-for-2 from the three-point line.
With the win, Gary Blair recorded his 400th victory as Texas A&M’s head coach.
The No. 15 Aggies will remain at home host Georgia at Reed Arena on Thursday, January 30th at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here.
Head Coach Gary Blair
Four in double figures, that’s what we’ve been doing. A pretty good job of that during this last five games. We’ve been pretty spread out, depending on whose night it is. We were 6-for-19 at half from our three guards. I think they played a lot better in the second half, started hitting the shots we had to have. Three-point shooting was good for the second game in a row. The best thing about our team is we don’t want to put the ball up 30 times a game. I don’t care if we’re open for a reason. We want to still get inside, draw fouls, get to the free throw line and make them play through a possession, and I think we do that pretty well. We had 22 assists on 26 baskets. We put a few new things in this ball game, and I think our kids reacted to a couple set plays that worked. I think we were 3-for-3 in the new stuff we put in.
Jasmine [Williams] hit a couple of threes which is great, but I was more impressed with her six rebounds and playing within the offense. Sometimes, that’s what seniors do. They realize how quick their four years are going. It’s funny how you start to appreciate those four years, socially, academically and physically out there on the court and I think she’s having the time of her life right now and that’s what seniors are supposed to do.
The negatives, basketball IQ. There’s no excuse for those fouls, and they were fouls. We’ve got to play smarter. I cannot go against the teams that are in the top 25 and be in foul trouble as much as we’ve been lately and that starts with realizing you’re not there to steal the ball, you’re there to play defense. Defense does not have one thing to do with stealing a ball or slapping the ball out of bounds.
On his 400th win …
“I was just lucky to be asked here 17 years ago. I know how to build a staff and how to build a program, and I know how to recruit the right student-athletes that will fit into the culture of A&M, that’s my strength. We hire good and we recruit good and we win. There’s no set formula for 400 wins, think of how many players I’ve had along the way, that’s the special part.”
On Ciera Johnson and N’dea Jones fouling out in the third quarter…
“We didn’t do anything different; we were out-matching zones majority of the time. [Bob] Starkey made some adjustments, but other than that, we were just very lucky that that wasn’t Tennessee or Mississippi State or someone that could wear us out inside. We would have had a hard time with fouls guarding someone 6-4 or 6-5. We’ve got to do better and I’ll bring their attention to that, but I was more pleased with what we were doing with what we had.”
Senior Guard Shambria Washington
On attacking the inside…
“We shared the basketball, we made unselfish plays. Whoever is playing that night, we try and go find them and we just try to get the perfect play, well not the perfect play, but good-to-great shots is what Coach Blair always preaches. We just try to get the best shots on most of those possessions and it worked.”
Senior Guard Jasmine Williams
On the team coming together while Chennedy Carter is out…
“I think it is really important, within the culture of our program to know that at any given moment, like I said a long time ago at the beginning of the season, it could be your turn. You just need to be ready, be preparing in practice every day as if someone could fall. Everyone knows the plays, everyone knows what positions they need to run. We are just rallying together as a team while she’s out and doing our best and I think we’re doing alright.”