In Texas A&M’s SEC opener, forward N’dea Jones recorded a career-high 22 points, as the A&M women’s basketball team hung on to defeat the Arkansas Razorbacks 84-77 at the Bud Walton Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas.
With the victory, the No. 11 Aggies (13-1, 1-0 SEC) picked up their first ranked win of the season and extended their current winning streak to eight games, their longest winning streak since their 11-game streak in 2014-2015. Since joining the SEC, the Aggies are 6-2 in their SEC opener.
After leading by 12 at the half, the Aggies allowed No. 20 Arkansas (12-2, 0-1 SEC) back into the game thanks to a 13-4 scoring run by the Razorbacks due to Aggie turnovers. With 6:24 left in the game, Arkansas freshman guard Makayla Daniels tied the score at 61, before a 9-3 run by the Aggies helped them regain the lead. Arkansas would cut the A&M lead to three in the closing minutes, before free throws by the Aggies helped them finish the game off strong.
On the offensive end, it was a huge game for Jones, who finished with a career-high 22 points, along with 14 rebounds and four assists. Jones has recorded double-doubles in her last two games, and now has four on the season. In the first half, Jones was a big part of the offense, helping create a presence in the paint with junior forward Ciera Johnson, who recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and ten rebounds.
With the dominant performances from Jones and Johnson, the Aggies dominated the glass, out rebounding the Razorbacks 45-29. In addition to Jones and Johnson, guards Chennedy Carter and Shambria Washington were huge in bringing down boards for the Aggies, totaling seven and five rebounds respectively.
In the backcourt, guards Kayla Wells and Carter continued providing strong offense for the Aggies, as each scored double digits for the eight time in the last nine games. Carter started the game off powerfully, scoring 13 points in the first quarter, and finishing with 28 points. Carter has now scored double-digits in 47 consecutive games, including 20 or more points in each of the last seven contests. Wells added 15 points, including hitting 5-of-6 of her attempts at the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Starting guard Washington led the team with eight assists, while also adding four points.
On the defensive end, the Aggies were able to hold Arkansas to under 42 percent from the field. With Arkansas’ reliance on the deep shot, shooting 27 threes in the game, the Aggies were able to hold the Razorbacks to a respectable 12-27 from deep.In the fourth quarter, the Aggies played their best defense of the game, limiting the Razorbacks to 33 percent from the floor and 2-7 from deep.
One area where the Aggies struggled considerably is in the turnover department. The Aggies finished with 11 turnovers in the game compared to Arkansas’ nine, including only managing three steals. In addition to the turnover battle, the Aggies were surrendering a lot of scores to Arkansas off of these turnovers, allowing 12 points off of these turnovers compared to only one point for A&M.
After the road match in Arkansas, the Aggies return home to continue their early SEC schedule, taking on the Ole Miss Rebels on Jan. 6. Tip off against the Rebels is set for 6 p.m. at Reed Arena, and the game will be streamed on SEC Network+.