The No. 8 Texas A&M women’s basketball team won a close game in Columbia, Mo., taking on the Tigers in the Aggies’ sixth conference game of the season.
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Aggies had their hands full against an efficient shooting team that has the most efficient scorer in the SEC with sophomore forward Haley Frank. Frank leads the SEC not only in field goal percentage at 68.2 percent, but also in three-point field goal percentage at 51.5 percent.
The Aggies held Frank to 50 percent from the floor and from the three-point line en route to a 70-66 win.
A scoring drought in the first two minutes of the game for both teams was quickly alleviated with balanced scoring across the board. After the first quarter of play, Missouri led 18-13 with an over 50 percent field goal percentage.
In the second quarter, A&M ramped up its production and took the lead with a 25-12 run, thanks in part to two timely three-pointers from senior guard Destiny Pitts.
At halftime senior center Ciera Johnson led all scorers with 10 points, and senior forward N’dea Jones led in rebounds with nine. Heading into the third quarter, the Aggies held a nine-rebound and eight-point advantage over Missouri.
Starting the third quarter off much like the first, Missouri outscored A&M 20-17 in the third with balanced scoring from six different players. From the end of the first half throughout the third quarter, Missouri had a streak of six consecutive three pointers to cut the Aggies’ lead to just 55-50 heading into the fourth.
“We just didn’t take advantage,” Blair said. “We were staying too wide and we have to attack when the outside shot is not going. That’s the whole nature of the game.”
A&M’s scoring troubles continued in the fourth and the Aggies only shot 25 percent from the floor to Missouri’s 53.8.
A silver lining for the Aggies was a foul call early in the fourth quarter that gave Frank her fourth personal for Missouri. Frank played only half of the last quarter due to her foul trouble and was held to only two points from the floor.
“We all want to win badly and I think going on the road and not having the best game just shows how mature we are,” Jones said. “They took the lead with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter and we just kind of came together.”
The final minutes of the game saw A&M take and maintain a slight lead over Missouri with seven straight points from senior guard Kayla Wells and two clutch free throws from Pitts.
Jones, who finished the game with her 10th double-double of the season, said the Aggies are prepared to finish strong in close games because of their history playing together.
“We don’t get nervous or scared, especially because we’ve been playing with each other for so long now,” Jones said. “I think close games make us go 10 times harder than what we were before.”
Following its win, A&M will continue its two-game road stint and travel to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Tigers, who are winless in SEC play.
“We'll go and take it as a win,” Blair said. “Sometimes you can't play your best — give credit to your opponent. [Missouri coach] Robin [Pingeton] has a very good ballclub and she almost got away with the W.”