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

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

The Battalion

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A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Ten Aggies score, Rogers returns in victory over Bulldogs
Photo by Adriano Espinosa
Graduate guard Endyia Rogers dribbles the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Feb. 4, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Adriano Espinosa/ The Battalion)

Texas A&M women’s basketball found its offense early against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Thursday, March 7 inside Bon Secours Wellness Arena in the second round of the SEC Tournament.

Senior transfer guard Aicha Coulibaly found the net first for the Maroon and White with a layup, two of many points that would eventually contribute to a 72-56 Aggie win and birthday celebration for coach Joni Taylor.

“We just stayed composed and played our game,” Coulibaly said.” We knew today was a big game for us, and we had to win so we played for each other and it worked out.”

Within the first five minutes, the Aggies appeared in sync in getting everyone scoring and controlling the pace of the game.

The Bulldogs were scattered offensively and allowed four turnovers within the first minutes of the game. With the Aggies up six, the Bulldogs hit back-to-back 3-pointers to score their first points of the game and tie things up in Greenville, South Carolina.

At the 5:27 mark, graduate transfer G Endyia Rogers checked into the game for the first time since Feb. 11. Rogers missed the last six matchups, while the Aggies went 1-5, with a knee injury.

“She stretches the floor, she runs it well, she’s a three-level scorer,” Taylor said. “When she’s on the floor we just have better chemistry and we play really well together so we are super happy to have her back.”

The leading scorer wasted no time getting on the board as she cut around two Mississippi State defenders to nail a jump shot and increase the lead to 10-6.

Continuing to dismantle the Bulldogs’ defense was junior G Tineya Hylton, who motioned for a 3-point attempt but cut to the basket for a layup, forcing Mississippi State coach Sam Purcell to call a timeout while down six points.

Fighting against the matchup zone, sophomore forward Janiah Barker found an open Coulibaly under the glass for a layup to open the second half and increase the A&M lead to seven.

Senior G Jerkaila Jordan tried to gain some momentum for the Bulldogs with back-to-back scoring possessions of a jump shot and a layup to cut the deficit to four. The attempts fell short as the Aggies continued to run and stretch the lead.

Sophomore G Sydney Bowles scored the last five Aggie points of the half after knocking down a 3-pointer from behind the arc and getting to the free throw line after a foul on a 3-point attempt, she nailed 2-3 free throws to end the first half, 25-21.

The Aggies dominated the third and fourth quarter as the mismatch under the basket continued and the Bulldogs struggled to find any balance. Foul trouble for the Bulldogs’ leading scorer at 16.2 points per contest, Jordan sent her to the bench early in the third quarter and increased the squad’s disadvantage offensively.

Barker concluded the third quarter with an and-1, one of three on the quarter that got the Aggie bench standing and fired up.

The two squads mirrored points in the fourth quarter with 21 each, but a 3-pointer by freshman G Solé Williams and a layup by Barker sealed the victory.

It was a complete team effort for the Aggies with 10 players in the scoring column and owning the glass with 44 rebounds. Coulibaly led in scoring with 17 points, four assists and three rebounds. Barker followed with 15 points, nine rebounds and one assist. Rogers in her return notched 12 points, two rebounds and one assist.

“We were patient offensively,” Taylor said. “Everybody took turns and that is what it takes.”

The Bulldogs were led by graduate center Jessika Carter and senior G Darrione Rogers with 12 points each. Jordan was held to nine points of her own, five rebounds and three assists.

The Aggies will continue in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament tomorrow, March 8 at 11 a.m. against the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a tough matchup,” Taylor said. “They are very dangerous offensively so it starts with us having the same mindset on both ends of the basketball.”

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