Aggies fall in Norman, 64-55
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07
The No. 13 Aggies fell 64-55 to the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma in a game that swung the race for second place in the Big 12 conference firmly in the Sooners favor.
The Aggies (19-7, 10-5) shot just 28.6 percent (18-63) from the field, negating the advantage gained from winning the turnover battle –12 Aggie turnovers compared to 19 for the Sooners – and hauling in 19 offensive rebounds.
A&M head coach Gary Blair said that Oklahoma deserved to win.
"It just wasn't a good night, but I love Oklahoma's intensity," Blair said. "They hit the shot clock shots when they had to or they got the loose balls when they had to. Oklahoma deserved to win it."
Sophomore guard Aaryn Ellenberg netted a game-high 23 for the Sooners (18-9, 10-5, trailed closely by fellow sophomore guard Morgan Hook's 19. Another Oklahoma guard, junior Whitney Hand, added 11.
Blair said the Sooners were given easy shots all night.
"With the shots that they had they should have shot 60 percent," Blair said.
Two senior guards reached double figures in scoring for the Aggies: Sydney Carter led the team with 12 points and Tyra White scored 11. Carter made just 4-16 shots along the way, however, while White managed just 2-16.
Blair said that Carter is having to be the first option on offense too much.
"Carter is having to be too much of a go-to player," Blair said. "She is a complement player. She's a go-to defensive player, but she's a compliment player on offense. I can't have her shooting 15 times in a ball game."
Foul trouble plagued an A&M frontcourt that is an integral cog of the team's offense. Junior center Kelsey Bone played just 19 minutes total, and only nine in the first half, while senior forward Adaora Elonu played just six minutes in the first half after picking up a pair of early fouls.
14 first-half offensive rebounds kept the Aggies in the game as they entered the half trailing 33-30, but a 14-6 Oklahoma run out of the intermission period put the Sooners out of reach. Blair said that the Aggies were "lucky" to have been so close at halftime.
"We were lucky to be in this ball game at half," Blair said. "We had both post players with two fouls, but all of a sudden you have to protect in the second half. I really thought this team was ready to finally play a great road game against a good team."
A 7-0 A&M spurt breathed life into the offense and pulled the Aggies within four late in the second half at 47-43, but got no closer.
Carter said the team needs to work to improve their shooting.
"We need to take it upon ourselves and get in the gym and hit these shots," Carter said. "We missed layups, open jumpers. We just didn't make the shots. It was a lack of focus and we didn't get it done on the defensive end either."
Though the teams now have identical conference records at 10-5 and have split the season series with one win apiece, advantage falls clearly in the Sooners court with just three Big 12 games remaining for one reason: Oklahoma has lost twice this season to undefeated No. 1 Baylor, while the Aggies have played the Lady Bears just once and must play the nation's top team again.
The Aggies return home to Reed Arena to host Texas Tech Saturday at 7 p.m.