No. 15 Aggies hold off Georgia for fourth straight win

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- No. 15 Texas A&M held off a strong fourth-quarter rally by Georgia, but three free throws in the final 10 seconds ensured the Aggies their fourth straight win, 64-63, Thursday night at Reed Arena.

A&M (18-3, 6-2) led by 13 after an N'dea Jones layup to start the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs slowly chipped away and pulled within one on a jumper with 12 seconds to play. Kayla Wells then sank a pair of free throws with 8.9 seconds left and Aahliyah Jackson added another with 1.4 to go to push the A&M lead to four. Georgia banked in a three at the buzzer for the final margin.

Jones posted her ninth straight double-double and was one shy of her career point total, pouring in 21 on the night and grabbing 10 rebounds. Ciera Johnson added 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while Shambria Washington dished out 8 assists and Aaliyah Wilson blocked a career high 4 shots.

TEAM NOTES

· Texas A&M boasts an 18-3 record, marking the program’s best start through 21 games since the 2010-11 season.

· The Aggies shot 52.1% from the field, their second-best percentage on the year.

· Texas A&M recorded 20 assists, which is the fifth time this season they have dished out 20-plus assists in a game.

· Texas A&M used a starting lineup of Aaliyah Wilson, Shambria Washington, Kayla Wells, N’dea Jones and Ciera Johnson for the fifth time this season.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

· Junior forward N’dea Jones led the team with 21 points and 10 rebounds, en-route to her ninth straight double-double.

· This was the third 20-point game of the season for Jones.

· Junior forward Ciera Johnson tallied 17 points for her 13th-straight game double-figure game, the longest streak of her career

· Johnson dished out a career-high five assists in the game.

· Junior guard Kayla Wells recorded 14 points on the game for her fifth-straight game with double-digit points.

· Senior guard Shambria Washington surpassed the century mark on the season as her eight assists in the game put her at 107 for the year.

· Junior guard Aaliyah Wilson blocked a career-high four shots.

UP NEXT

The No. 15 Aggies will travel to take on LSU at Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Sunday, February 2nd at 2 p.m.

Post Game Quotes

Texas A&M
Head Coach Gary Blair
Opening Statement…
“The three that Jasmine [Williams] made in the second quarter, we had to have. That was a flow three. When you’re into the flow and we reversed the ball like that, that’s how much confidence a senior can have. How many times can you go into a ballgame with Kayla Wells being guarded that tough? She didn’t even attempt a three, maybe for the first time in her career. Georgia was guarding our guards so tough; it was hard to get any space. That’s why in the second and third quarter we kept going inside. Our turnovers were what allowed them to stay in the game, plus, they started hitting shots, and [Jenna] Staiti started playing like she was supposed to play. She hurt Ciera [Johnson] inside just like Ciera was hurting her inside in the second quarter. It was a good ball game.”

On the team’s ability to respond to coaching...
“I think as a coach, all the tough love you give the team throughout the year, and I gave them some tough love in the first media timeout; sometimes you have to take that tough love to be able to respond. A freshman ball club couldn’t have taken that. They responded well to me, and they responded well to Coach [Bob] Starkey. We started shooting excellent shots again, and people stepped up.”

Junior Forward N’dea Jones
On how A&M was able to keep it close and pull out the win…
“We weren’t really expecting that one, but things got close there. They made some pretty good plays. I guess tiredness kind of played a part in that. I think we came together at the end and really held out.”

On her double-double and having success against the home state team…
“It feels great. I like beating UGA, and it’s also good to see my friends on the other team. I think it’s really special because we all played together. I like seeing them succeed as well, even though I do like beating them, it’s nice to know they are all doing great.”

Junior Guard Aaliyah Wilson
On Georgia’s physicality…
“I think we definitely expected it. They are a really aggressive team defensively, it’s SEC. I think they were a little more aggressive than what we expected. We stayed attacking them and staying aggressive as well. Luckily we came out with the win.”