Texas A&M women’s basketball is looking to avenge its loss to No. 6 Mississippi State as the Aggies take on Vanderbilt Thursday.
A&M is 18-5 on the season and 6-4 in conference play. Vanderbilt, fresh off a win over Ole Miss, has a 13-10 record on the season with a 3-7 record against conference opponents.
Thursday’s game will mark the eighth consecutive absence for All-American guard Chennedy Carter, who is still suffering from a left ankle sprain. With her continued absence, the team has lost its last two games by a combined 13 points.
Perhaps the biggest positive during Carter’s absence has been junior forward N’dea Jones. During non-conference play, Jones averaged 7.7 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. Since the start of conference play, she has averaged 16 points per game on 54 percent shooting from the floor, 12.5 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game. Each of these averages lead the team in that 10-game span.
Junior guard Kayla Wells has also been a reliable scoring threat. Averaging over 14 points per game, Wells has provided the Aggies with elite floor spacing and free throw shooting. She has converted 41 percent of her three-point attempts and 81 percent of her free throw attempts thus far through conference play.
Junior center Ciera Johnson has been a dominant post presence, scoring 12.8 points per game on 49 percent shooting. However, her 6.6 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocks per game have been more critical to the team as she has helped establish a defensive identity in the paint, something A&M coach Gary Blair has stressed for much of the season.
Senior guard Shambria Washington continues to be a primary playmaker for the Aggies with an average of 5.5 assists per game during conference play, up from her 4.6 assists per game during non-conference play.
The Aggies will need to be at their best, especially on offense to reverse the result of each of their last two games against Vanderbilt, a team that has many scoring options.
On a relatively low 24 minutes per game, Vanderbilt freshman forward Koi Love is averaging 14 points per game this season. Junior forward Mariella Fasoula is averaging 13.4 points per game on an efficient 53 percent from the field. Sophomore Chelsie Hall is averaging 10.2 per game and shooting 30 percent from the three-point line.
Vanderbilt is also an elite rebounding team averaging almost 43 rebounds per game. The Commodores have significant frontcourt depth to grab rebounds with any rotation; this could give A&M some difficulty as the Aggies average 41.4 per game and don’t have the depth of Vanderbilt.
The game will be available for viewing on WatchESPN+. The game will take place at Reed Arena and tipoff is at 8 p.m.