Women's basketball tops LSU: ‘Best game in the SEC all year’
Walker paces Aggie offense in top-25 matchup
Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 01:02
The No. 19 Texas A&M women’s basketball team took down the No. 16 LSU Tigers 72-67 on Sunday in a game in which neither team led by more than seven points.
With the win the Aggies (18-6, 8-2 SEC) sweep the Tigers (18-6, 7-4 SEC) in regular season play and improve their home record to 11-1 this season.
“That was arguably the best game in the SEC all year,” said Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair. “I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
After trailing 20-13 with eight minutes remaining in the first half, the A&M defense stiffened, surrendering only four points the remainder of the half. The Aggies fought back and took a 25-24 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Tigers ran into early foul trouble, allowing the Aggies to reach the bonus before the 16-minute mark. A&M capitalized by making 24-of-30 free throws, led by Karla Gilbert’s perfect 6-6 performance in the final frame.
“Just attack,” said sophomore forward Courtney Williams about the Aggies second half mentality. “We knew we were in the bonus. We’re a good free throw shooting team.”
Sophomore guard Courtney Walker led the Aggies with 22 points and has scored 20 or more points in three of the last five games. LSU guard Danielle Ballard talked about the difficulties of defending Walker following the game.
“[Walker’s] a great player,” Ballard said. “It’s hard to defend her because she’s got a great pull-up jump shot [and] she’s very aggressive off the dribble.”
A&M received a boost off the bench from junior guard Tori Scott, who scored 11 points and added six rebounds in her 18 minutes of play.
LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell said she thought the Aggies were more physical than her team in a game characterized by physicality that included 51 total fouls, 34 of which came in the second half.
“I just felt as though A&M was tougher, that they went to the boards harder,” Caldwell said. “I thought that they wanted it more. You could see it in their body language.”
The rivalry between A&M and LSU has been rekindled since A&M’s move to the SEC and Blair said back-and-forth battles such as this will ignite the competition between the schools going forward.
“This is what starts a rivalry,” Blair said. “You’ve got to have close games, you’ve got to have mutual respect for each other, you’ve got to have kids that both of us have recruited to play on each other’s teams and you’ve got to go right down to the wire.”
Next, the Aggies will face the Georgia Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Thursday night in Reed Arena, a team they defeated 58-44 earlier this season. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.