No. 21 Texas A&M women use big 3rd quarter to beat TCU 71-58

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Freshman Chennedy Carter had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists, Khaalia Hillsman added 22 points, and No. 21 Texas A&M beat TCU 71-58 on Wednesday.

Texas A&M is 20-0 at home in the series and holds the overall advantage at 36-4.

The Aggies trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half but outscored TCU 25-10 in the third quarter.

TCU pulled to 63-55 with 1:54 remaining in the game but Carter broke the press and found Hillsman wide open under the basket to push Texas A&M's lead back to double-digits.

Danni Williams added 13 points for Texas A&M (7-2) and Anriel Howard grabbed 16 rebounds. The Aggies were 22 of 27 (82 percent) from the free-throw line.

Carter leads the nation in scoring among freshman at 19 points per game. She was 8-of-16 shooting against the Horned Frogs and had just one turnover in 35 minutes.

Amy Okonkwo had 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists for TCU (6-2). Jordan Moore added 11 points and nine rebounds.


Elementary School Day
· This is Texas A&M’s fifth annual Elementary School day, with 4,000 students from 28 area schools in attendance.
· The total attendance was 7,480, which is the 14th-largest women’s basketball crowd in Reed Arena history (since 1998). All five versions have had 7,000+ fans in attendance.

Texas A&M
· The Aggies are now 7-2 on the season, while TCU falls to 6-2
· Texas A&M is 60-12 at home since 2013-14 at Reed Arena, and 152-5 against unranked teams at home since February 2005.
· Texas A&M erased a 13-point second quarter deficit, trailing 28-15 with 3:49 left in the second quarter. The Aggies needed just over eight minutes of game time to take the lead, pulling ahead with 5:24 left in the third quarter.
· It is Texas A&M’s sixth comeback of 10+ points in the past two seasons.
· The Aggies lead the all-time series with TCU 36-4, including a 20-0 mark against the Horned Frogs in College Station
· Texas A&M has won the last seven meetings against TCU
· Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair is 338-142 in 15 seasons at Texas A&M and 746-306 in his Hall of Fame career, which ranks eighth among active coaches

Chennedy Carter
· Scored 20+ points for the fourth time in her nine-game career
· Has scored in double figures in all nine games of her career. She is the only Texas A&M freshman to start a career with nine straight 10+ point games.

Khaalia Hillsman
· Had a season-high 22 points
· Had 13 third quarter points
· Scored 20+ points for the second time this season and the 13th time in her career
· Had her seventh 10+ point game of the season and the 51st of her career

Anriel Howard
· Grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds
· Had 10+ rebounds for the eighth time in nine games this season, and the 28th time in her career
· Has either 10+ points or 10+ rebounds in every game this season

Danni Williams
· Scored 10+ points for the eighth time in nine games this season and the 39th time in her career

Postgame Quotes

Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
Opening Statement…
“It wasn’t what I said at halftime. I think the kids owned up to what they were not doing in the first half. We got into the same problems that we have had the past couple of games. We were not reversing the ball or getting the little things in there. The second half we ran a couple of set plays to get the ball to (Khaalia) Hillsman. She wanted the ball more in the second half. (Chennedy) Carter did a pretty good job of finishing. She leads the nation in scoring for freshmen … I think she is doing pretty good. We live with her mistakes like you do with all freshmen. Give that kid a lot of credit. Danni (Williams), we were able to get her loose. It wasn’t her best, but she hit the shots we had to have under pressure. She will work her way out of the slump. (Anriel) Howard, look at what she did on the boards. She just gave us the energy she had to have. There is no way we win the rebounding battle if it weren’t for Anriel. Give TCU a lot of credit. (Amy Okonkwo) played so well. She can shoot the three and put the ball on the floor. We did a great job on (Toree) Thompson. She had been lightening it up and most of the time it was Danni (Williams) over there on Thompson. We identified her, took her threes away and she was basically non-existent in the game. TCU is a solid Big 12 team. They are going to win a lot of ballgames. They have players and they are well-coached.”

On the Maggie Dixon Classic...
“I want to thank the Maggie Dixon folks particularly the family for coming up here. They would have been here early but they got lost in College Station traffic. I wanted them to speak to my basketball team before we went out on the court. What an honor it was to represent one of the most young and energetic coaches to ever coach in Maggie Dixon. I’d love to have this game again.”

On getting off to a slow start…
“I think the whole team was playing like a lull. We gave them plays to run, and we just didn’t execute. One thing TCU was doing was making four to five to six passes. What were we doing? Making one to two to three passes. We go over it but we have to share the ball more and reverse the floor. We can’t just try to have the first option. Personally, I am having to play a lot of those kids a lot of minutes because we can’t get separation in the first half. I don’t want to be worn down before conference play. Give my kids credit for (playing a lot of minutes), but I don’t want to do that every game.”

On Elementary School Day…
“Now, what got us going in the second half was 5,000 screaming kids. They made a difference. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were cheering for us or were the just cheering because I kept hearing a buzz. That was fun playing in front of them. This win really meant a lot because we didn’t want to disappoint the 7,500 people that were here with a poor second half. We didn’t. We had a very good second half. To me that is a beautiful W. I know where we need to work, and we will get better. Don’t worry. My players can hear me out there on the court. This is year five. It means so much to those kids. Hopefully they will want to come back, but the most important thing is that I want them to come back to Texas A&M as a student.”

Texas A&M Senior Center Khaalia Hillsman
On the turnaround…
“It’s always my teammates. I do my work early and I get rewarded for having the ball. I really give credit to them.”

On the slow start…
“I’m just going to say it was an early game today. We try not to do that often but you know sometimes it happens but we have to be able to get out of our little drought and come out with a better sense of urgency as the game progresses and I think that’s what we did today.”

On the Elementary School Kids Day...
“I’m glad we won. Last year we lost and it was really heartbreaking for me to see all of those kids having to go home seeing their favorite Aggie Women’s Basketball team lose. It’s always special playing for these little kids. That’s what we did it for, to inspire others. They inspire us also. We want to be a positive role model for those kids. It’s just really special to be able to influence people like that.”

TCU Head Coach Raegan Pebley
Opening Statement…
“First and foremost, incredible honor for us to be able to participate in The Maggie Dixon Classic and we really wanted to take Coach Dixon, his family and TCU home a win from here but it is not lost on us that this is still a tremendous honor. Everything that Maggie represented in women’s basketball and in basketball in general is something that we as program always wanted to make sure we are representing. Congrats to A&M on winning this game. They had a great atmosphere. Those kids were awesome and they made it really hard sometimes to be able to communicate with each other. Those games are fun for everybody involved. Second half and especially that third quarter, we just weren't our best. Our interior defense was not good enough and we were not able to create much tempo with our offense because of our defense. We just never really bounced back and calmed ourselves down enough to be able to take what was still a really close game and within reach and jump over that hurdle.”

On not being able to hit 3-pointers …
“I am more concerned about the missed layups. I think that it was more of an issue than missed threes. Some of the layups were just right there and weren't even strongly contested. We saw a little bit of that towards the end of the second half and I know we are better than those missed layups. You don’t want to take it for granted and just think ‘oh it was just a fluke’. You go back in the gym and you work and you get better at it.”

On new generation of women's basketball fans in stands…
“It is awesome. Women’s basketball I think speaks to a lot of people for different reasons. Seeing them come out here and partake in the fun is great to be a part of.”