SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Playing an overtime game for just the second time this season, the No. 2 seed Texas A&M women’s basketball team survived an upset-bid from seven-seed Iowa State. Here are five takeaways from the Aggies’ 84-82 win:
A&M carries with it a calmness that can only come with experience. With its four senior starters — center Ciera Johnson, forward N’dea Jones and guards Aaliyah Wilson and Kayla Wells — starting in their 90th consecutive game for the Aggies, A&M carries a composure that will be tough for opponents to break. The Aggies made this mindset evident in the fourth quarter against Iowa State when they inched their way to a tie game at the end of regulation after being down by as much as 12 points in the third.
Jordan Nixon calls game
When A&M’s Chennedy Carter declared early for the WNBA draft and left A&M with one year of eligibility remaining, all eyes were on who coach Gary Blair would pick to replace her. After redshirting during Carter’s last season, sophomore guard Jordan Nixon answered Blair's call and has made her presence known among a team of seniors. Nixon scored her third game-winner of the season against Iowa State to send the Aggies to the Sweet 16 for the ninth time in program history. Completing the game with a career-high 35 points and seven assists, Nixon now holds the A&M record for most field goals in an NCAA Tournament game.
After starting the game shooting just 30 percent from the floor in the first quarter, the Aggies looked outmatched against an Iowa State team that went 6-of-7 from three-point range. A&M would improve to shooting 41 percent by the half with one three-point field goal, but Iowa State charged into the third quarter shooting lights-out from three-point range once again. The Cyclones would finish the game with 16 threes to A&M’s four, but the Aggies survived by outscoring Iowa State 44-12 in the paint.
The Aggies dominated the turnover battle, giving up just seven while forcing 24 from Iowa State. A&M also scored 26 of its points off of turnovers to the Cyclones' 11. Perhaps the biggest turnover of the game came when sophomore guard Alexis Morris tied the ball up with 10 seconds left of regulation. A&M was down a basket, but Morris’s defense gave the Aggies possession and led to a layup from Nixon that would tie the game and send it into overtime.
Jones & Johnson
Although A&M wouldn’t win the rebound game, seniors center Ciera Johnson and forward N’dea Jones dominated down low for the Aggies. A nine-point third quarter highlights Johnson’s 19-point, eight-rebound performance and Jones finished with nine points and 14 boards. A&M’s 11 blocks against Iowa State ties the program’s single-game record and the duo of Jones and Johnson combined for seven of that 11.
Next, A&M will take on No. 11 seed Arizona in the Sweet 16 on March 27 at 7 p.m.