Texas A&M women’s basketball was put to the test Sunday at Rice, taking the Aggies a last-second layup to seal the game 62-61.
With the win, the No. 5 Aggies improved to 3-0.
"It's an emotional game anytime you have a regional rivalry,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “We preached all week how good Rice is and how they finished the year last year. Give them a lot of credit.”
A&M junior Ciera Johnson clinched the win with a layup with nine seconds left in the game.
6-foot-9 Rice center Nancy Mulkey posed a threat to the Aggies, but fought against, holding a 34-18 advantage in the game and a 15-5 advantage on second-chance points.
“We only had 12 turnovers and I thought that was pretty good, but some of them were costly,” Blair said. “That was a pretty good matchup with Mulkey and Johnson. Sometimes the scoring is taken away from Ciera until she can get the offensive boards, and tonight we got the timely offensive board. And instead of being a rim shooter she was smart enough to use the glass.”
A&M junior Chennedy Carter scored 17 points in the first quarter, single handedly outscoring Rice, 24-14. Carter finished the matchup with 29 total points and 11-of-27 from the field, including four-of-eight on three-pointers.The win was Carter's 49th career game with 20 or more points and moved up her school record streak of double-digit games to 42 (67 total).
"We fought and stayed together. When Rice made a run, everyone stayed calm,” Carter told 12thman.com.
“We had some undisciplined moments in the game, but I think through the course of the game we did a lot of things right,” Carter said.
A&M junior Kayla Wells added 19 points, which shot 39 percent from the field. Following, the Aggies forced Rice into 19 turnovers, which turned into 19 points.
"We knew we were going to have to fight and have to fight hard,” Wells told 12thman.com,
“Every time we play Rice it always come down to the wire, so we knew what we were up against. My team handled adversity really well.”
After Rice had regained a one-point lead in the fourth quarter, A&M senior Shambria Washington missed a corner 3-pointer, but Johnson regained the ball and put the Aggies back on top.
Rice’s Lauren Schwartz had 19 points, and Sydne Wiggins added 13 points for Rice, which shot 38 percent from the field. Rice’s scoring leader Erica Ogwumike had nine points and 12 rebounds.
A&M will stay on the road with a matchup against Southern California in Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 24th. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on Pac-12 Network +.