Late shooting flurry pushes No. 16 A&M past Vanderbilt
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 00:02
For just the fourth time this season, the No. 16 women’s basketball team trailed at halftime, but riding the hot hand of freshman guard Courtney Walker, the Aggies stormed back for the home victory.
A&M (17-5, 7-1) pulled away late in the 60-52 win over Vanderbilt (14-7, 4-4).
The Aggies trailed 8-2 early in the game as the Commodores sunk two threes to pull them ahead. Vanderbilt led by as much as seven in the first half but Walker hit back-to-back jumpers to put the Aggies within three points of the Commodores.
Junior All-American candidate Kelsey Bone struggled to score and the team reflected her performance, shooting just 35 percent in the first half. In the second half, however, A&M shot a scorching 71 percent to regain the lead and eventually seal the win.
Senior forward Kristi Bellock said they have to help Bone during games such as this one.
"Kelsey is our leader and go-to player,” Bellock said. “We feed on her energy. If she doesn't score then we aren't doing our job by getting her the ball. We need to attack the rim more and help her out."
The Aggies had to make a change in the second half and Walker came into the second half on fire. Walker was 10 for 13 from the field, matching a career-high of 20 points and was the only player to reach double digits.
Walker said in the second half she knew she had to start being more aggressive.
"I really just started looking to attack,” Walker said. “Either the help went inside to Kelsey and I took the jump shot or it didn't come and I dumped it in to Kelsey."
With just under 12 minutes in the game A&M began to make its move despite the Commodores 39-38 lead. The Aggies went on a 10-0 run with the help of senior guard Adrienne Pratcher, who sunk a three-pointer and converted a three-point play to give the Aggies a 48-39 lead.
Vanderbilt still trailed but started to come back with just under five minutes remaining in the half, making the score 50-47. But A&M would go on yet another 10-0 run to secure the win. During the run, the defense forced two turnovers and four missed shots.
A&M head coach Gary Blair said they won because of their second-half execution.
“We did everything well in the second half to win this ballgame,” Blair said. “We will take the win; we executed better in the second half. It all started in the first five minutes with our defensive pressure.”
The win was the fifth in a row for A&M.