Texas A&M women’s basketball was defeated by the USA Women’s National Team in Thursday's exhibition matchup, 93-63.
Despite the loss, A&M junior guard Chennedy Carter's 34 points were the most points scored against Team USA by a collegiate opponent.
The Aggies came out strong to start the game as Carter scored 12 in the first quarter. They opened with a 7-2 lead and maintained a small lead throughout the first, responding well to the early challenges of facing Team USA. However, A&M gave up nine points in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the first, allowing USA to take a three-point lead to end the quarter.
As the game progressed, USA started to pull away as the physical superiority of forwards Nneka Ogwumike and Sylvia Fowles wore down the Aggies, securing 23 offensive rebounds.
A&M attempted a comeback with a third quarter run to cut the USA lead to single digits. However, back-to-back three pointers by Sue Bird and Skylar Diggins shut the door on the Aggies.
The national team had significant contributions from the entirety of their WNBA star-loaded roster; the bench outscored A&M's 44-6. Diggins led USA with 19 points (5-of-8 from the three-point range), while Fowles had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
For an expected outcome, the game provided a riveting showcase of a potential future USA Olympian. Carter showed moments of brilliance all night long, making spectacular plays on both ends of the floor.
After the game, Carter garnered significant praise from USA coach Cheryl Reeve.
"She's very crafty,” Reeve said. “She has the ability to break you down. We have five of our players that are returning from injuries, so to put them in those situations to guard a player like Chennedy was a big challenge. I appreciate the challenges she posed, and it helps our team concepts when you go against a great player like that."
Carter said the experience against the Olympic team will prove beneficial to the Aggies.
"It was really a learning experience for me and my teammates," Carter said. "This was great preparation for us, [for] this upcoming season. I'm really glad we got to get out there and play them — some of the best players in the world."
After the final buzzer, junior center Ciera Johnson said Fowles pulled her aside on the court and gave her tips and coaching on how to improve certain moves and aspects of her game.
"It's a blessing," Johnson said. "Not many people can wake up and say, 'Hey, I'm getting to play the best women in the world today.'… She doesn’t have to do that. It just goes to show the kind of person she is and her character. All of them. They are all nice and were giving us dap during the game and stuff like that. It goes to show the type of women they are and that they want to continue to help the game grow."
For the Aggies, their second game of the season will come on Sunday against Duke. Blair said his team must move forward and not cling to the experience of playing against Team USA.
"What we've got to do now is put this game away,” Blair said. “I'll break down the film, then we'll throw it out and say Duke, Duke, Duke."