COLLEGE STATION— Texas A&M won its sixth straight season-opener, holding off Rice for a 65-54 win in a women’s basketball game at Reed Arena Wednesday.
The Aggies (1-0) opened the game on a 13-1 run, and held Rice without a field goal for the first 5:12 of the game, taking a 28-18 lead to the break.
The Owls (0-1) would hang around, closing the deficit to just three points with under three minutes in the third quarter. Texas A&M responded with an 8-0 run, including two buckets by Kayla Wells to regain control of the game.
Chennedy Carter led the Aggies with 22 points, one of three Aggies in double-figures, adding five rebounds and co-led the team with four assists. Aaliyah Wilson chipped in 18 points and Wells had a career-high 16.
Ciera Johnson led the Aggies with eight rebounds, and Shambria Washington added a team-high four assists.
The Aggies return to action on Sunday, November 11, hosting Jacksonville at 6 p.m. on SEC Network +.
· Texas A&M starts the season 1-0, while Rice drops to 0-1
· Texas A&M is on an eight-game home winning streak, and has won 13 of its last 14 home games
· Texas A&M won its sixth straight season-opener, and has won its season opener in 13 of the past 14 season
· The Aggies are 41-4 in home openers and 32-13 in season openers
· The Aggies have won nine of their last 12 games, with the only losses in that span coming to the eventual 2018 National Finalists, Notre Dame and Mississippi State
· Texas A&M held Rice to without a field goal for the first 5:12 of the game. A&M jumped out to a 13-1 lead in the first 3:54 of the game.
· Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair is 358-151 in 16 seasons in Aggieland. He is 766-314 in his Hall of Fame career, which ranks eighth among active coaches.
· Scored 20+ points for the sixth straight game, dating back to last season, and the 25th time in her career
· Scored in double figures for the 11th straight game, dating back to last season, and the 36th time in her 37-game career
· Scored in double figures for the fifth time in her career, but it was her first time scoring 10+ in a Texas A&M uniform
· Scored a career-high 16 points, her first career double-digit scoring game
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair
On tonight’s performance
“Rice is a good ball club, they will win 20 again this year, and when they get their post players back they’ll be a whole different team, you will see them again in the tournament. The game was very similar to what we thought it would be, but give a lot of to our half-court defense, it was as good as we played half-court defense in a long time.”
Things that need to be worked on or addressed
“Coach Bob Starkey did a great job getting prepared, we did not get burned on back cuts, but when you play a good team eventually they will find your weakness which they did in the second half. We had trouble with high ball screens and high ball drives—that can be corrected.”
On the game
“The other things that I would like to commend are Jada Walton in the first half with her defense, and Aahliyah Jackson came in the second half, and they played exceptional. Chea Rael-Whitsitt came in and gave some big minutes, because she did the majority of the guarding of their big players. Our big focus is that we wanted to get other people involved and we did just that.”
Texas A&M Sophomore Aaliyah Wilson
On the fast start
“The coaches prepared us very well for this game this week and I think as hard as we’ve been going in practice every day and scout. Our practice team, they’ve been pushing us very well and they prepared us very well for this game, so I think we were really excited and ready to get out there and just execute what the coaches taught us.”
On what the defense did to perform so well
“We studied last year’s game very well and one of their strengths was the three point shot last year, so we tried to do our best to take that out and just make them take it off the dribble. We were able to do that, and we brought a lot of energy from the jump, so I believe that put us in a really good position to make those plays.”
Texas A&M Sophomore Ciera Johnson
On the game experience and what it was like to play again after not playing for a year
“Practice is traditionally harder than the game for us so for the game we try to practice harder and the coaches make the practice hard, so that when we go to the game we’re more prepared for it. So if we’re disciplined, and doing what the coaches ask us to do, what we’ve practiced all week for the game, then it translates to the game.”