Against the Aggies on Sunday, Mississippi State closed the ballgame on a 36-12 scoring run, as the Texas A&M women’s basketball team fell to the Bulldogs 69-57 in Starkville.
Looking for an upset victory, the No. 16 Aggies (18-5, 6-4 SEC ) managed to hold their own against the No. 8 Bulldogs (22-3, 10-1 SEC) in the first half, using a 26-point second quarter to build a 37-26 lead at halftime. Shooting 15-for-27 from the floor in the first half, the Aggies had huge offensive contributions from Kayla Wells and N’dea Jones, with the duo scoring 14 and 10 points respectively while Jones added nine rebounds by the break.
On the offensive end, Mississippi State, which entered the game as the third highest scoring team in the SEC at 80.5 points per game, scored a season-low 26 points in the first half, including shooting 0-of-6 from three-point range.
At the start of the second half, the Aggies kept pace with the Bulldogs, holding a 45-33 lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs then used a 10-4 scoring run to cut the lead to six going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Mississippi State continued to claw back at the A&M advantage, retaking the lead with 8:03 left in the game. After A&M cut the lead to one on a basket from Wells, Mississippi State extended its lead to nine with a 11-2 scoring run, closing the game with their largest lead of the game at 12.
In the crucial fourth quarter, Mississippi State finished 9-of-16 from the floor, shooting 60 percent, while making eight of 11 free-throw attempts. Meanwhile, the Aggies finished shooting 3-of-14 while missing all three of their three-point attempts.
Offensively, Jones and Wells led the way for the Aggies. Jones finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds to record her 11th consecutive double-double. Jones’ 13 double-doubles this season are second in the SEC and 11th in the country, while her 23 career double-doubles have her third on the all-time A&M list. Wells matched Jones for a team-high 16 points while adding two assists and two rebounds. Well has now scored in double figures in seven consecutive games.
Junior guard Aaliyah Wilson finished with 12 points, six rebounds and two assists, finishing in double-digit scoring in consecutive games for the first time all season. Center Ciera Johnson, who played limited minutes due to foul trouble, finished with seven points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Shambria Washington finished with five assists and three rebounds, recording her 12th game of the season with five or more assists.
Against Mississippi State, A&M kept its starters on the court for the majority of the game. Of the starting five, the backcourt of Wilson, Wells and Washington played all 40 minutes against the Bulldogs, while Jones played 39 minutes before exiting in the final minute with her fifth foul. Senior Jasmine Williams was the only bench player to play more than two minutes in the game.
In the post, A&M struggled to contain the Bulldog offense, giving up 44 points compared to A&M’s 32 while also allowing four blocks. One area where the Aggies held up is in on the glass, out rebounding the Bulldogs 39 to 34.
Coming off two road losses, the Aggies will return home to host Vanderbilt on Feb. 13. Tipoff against the Commodores is set for 8 p.m., with the game also being streamed on the SEC Network.