No. 13 Aggies take on Horns in Austin
Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07
The No. 13 Aggies will lace up their sneakers and take the court Saturday in Austin for the last game of the regular season and the final Big 12 conference installment in the storied rivalry against the Texas Longhorns (17-12, 7-10).
The Aggies (20-8, 11-6) pushed the No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears to the brink Monday but fell 67-60. Coach Blair's unit will look to continue the shooting success the Aggies enjoyed in that game as they made 46.4% of their shots from the field, the highest mark of any Baylor opponent this season.
The Longhorns trumped the Aggies in College Station in January 71-76 but have struggled this season, slumping to a 5-10 conference record before winning their last two games.
Sophomore guard Chassidy Fussell led the Longhorns against A&M with 25 points, matching the strong 25-point outing by A&M senior guard Sydney Carter. Fussell's 16.8 points per game this season is the fourth-highest average among eligible conference players. Making 90.5 percent of her attempts from the free throw line, Fussell is the most accurate foul shooter in the conference.
Senior guard Ashleigh Fontenette has been a strong backcourt complement to Fussell and the team's second leading scorer with 11.6 points per game.
Perimeter scoring is an area the Longhorns may seek to exploit as they aim for a second upset this season over the Aggies. As a team, Texas hits 33.7 percent of their three point attempts- the third-highest percentage in the league- and Fussell's 2.07 three pointers made per contest is third among conference players. The Aggies, meanwhile, rank last in the conference in three point shooting defense, allowing their opponents to connect on 36.0 percent of their outside shots.
Offensive rebounding and turnover creation have played an integral role in many Aggie wins this season as the team, but in the earlier matchup between the instate rivals Texas was able to match A&M in both.
If the Aggies are to regain the advantage in the areas in which they excel, they must establish a frontcourt that was dominant at times against Baylor but was hamstrung by foul trouble. Sophomore center Karla Gilbert fouled out and junior center Kelsey Bone and senior forward Adaora Elonu were relegated to the bench for key stretches- each finished with four fouls.
Against a strong shooting team like the Longhorns, the Aggies will need more efficient play from their starting backcourt. Senior guards Tyra White and Sydney Carter combined for 27 points against Baylor but took 30 shots to do so and missed eight free throws between them.
The Longhorns have notched consecutive convincing wins over Oklahoma and Missouri. By beating the Sooners, the Longhorns indirectly performed for the Aggies a great service by setting back the Sooners in their pursuit of the Aggies for second place in the conference. If the Aggies can hold their position in the standings, it will ensure they won't face Baylor in the Big 12 tournament until the championship game, should both teams make it that far.
Tipoff is set for 12 p.m.