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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Lady Aggies drop eighth straight to stay in Big 12 cellar

 
 

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said Texas A&M women’s basketball team played hard in its game against the Iowa State Cyclones Saturday at Reed Arena. But playing hard just wasn’t good enough as the Aggies lost another Big 12 game, 66-58.
“This playing hard is not working,” said A&M head coach Gary Blair. “Play smart and hard, and it will work.”
Iowa State (10-8, 3-4 Big 12) shot 54.5 percent against the Aggies’ aggressive man-on-man and press defenses. Iowa State’s zone defense held the Aggies to 35.7 percent.
“They got open looks and knocked their shots down,” said A&M senior guard Toccara Williams. “We knew they had a great shooting team.”
A&M (7-12, 0-8) went on a nine-point run late in the game to come within two of the lead, but an Iowa State lay-up, followed by a missed three-pointer by A&M gave Iowa State the breathing room it needed to last through the final minutes.
“What we tried to do is not let their three-point shooters get to the basket,” Fennelly said.
A&M junior guard Mindy Garrison has hit 33 of 99 three-pointers this season but was held to zero on Saturday, as was junior guard Charlette Castile who has hit 20 of 55 three’s for the season.
Williams, who is zero-for-six on the season from three-point land, was the only Aggie to hit a shot from behind the three-point arc connecting three times on Saturday.
“When (Williams) goes three-for-four from the three and the rest of them goes (0-7), that is hard,” Blair said. “We needed somebody else to step up.”
Williams had another four steals, bringing her to within nine steals of the Big 12 record of 418.
A&M sophomore forward Tamea Scales put up impressive numbers with a double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Ultimately, Williams and Scales were the only ones producing for the Aggies. They had a combined 44 of the 58 total Aggie points and 23 of the 42 total rebounds.
Scales’ 15 rebounds was the highest of either team, and overall, the Aggies won the battle under the basket with 42 rebounds to Iowa State’s 31.
Blair said Scales is likely to start the rest of the season and possibly next year as well.
“(Scales) doesn’t play with a woe-is-me attitude, she plays with an energy level out there that we need some of our other kids to step up and have,” Blair said.
“Until this season ends (Scales) will be in that starting line-up.”
Iowa State led by only two at halftime thanks mostly to Cyclones redshirt junior guard Ann O’Neil. O’Neil dominated Iowa State’s first half offense with 15 of Iowa State’s 25 points.
Aggie fans, tired of watching O’Neil score, took it upon themselves to yell “ball hog” each time she got the ball, and thanks to tighter A&M coverage she was held to only five points, all off free throws, in the second half.
“(O’Neil) is a great player,” Williams said. “She brings all aspects of the game. She can shoot the three, take it off the dribble, pull up and drive right by you.”
Blair said O’Neil is a great player living up to her potential, but it was Iowa State’s adjustments that kept the Cyclones in the game in the second.
“(Iowa State) started the game with a box-and-one (zone defense) to guard against our shooter Mindy (Garrison),” Blair said. “Then when we put two shooters in Mindy and Charlette (Castile), they went to a triangle-and-two.”
Iowa State’s offense was spread among most of its bench, with seven players scoring 31 second half points.
Iowa State freshman forward Megan Ronhovde put up seven points in the second half and finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds and 10 points in the game.
Fennelly said that he wasn’t expecting the offensive depth from his team, who is known for their zone defense.
“This was an offensive explosion for us,” Fennelly said. “This is the best that we have played in a long time.”
Blair said the fans at Reed Arena showed great support but he hopes to lower the amount of men-women double headers for next year.
“It is too much to expect our crowd to put six hours in on basketball games,” Blair said. “This is not good for the men, it is not good for the women, it is definitely not good for the fans.”
The Aggies next opponent is Oklahoma State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Reed Arena.

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