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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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Aggies beat Pittsburgh to open Paradise Jam Tournament

A+pair+of+guards%2C+graduate%26%23160%3BDestiny+Pitts+and+junior%26%23160%3BJordan+Nixon%2C%26%23160%3Bco-led+the+Aggies+in+scoring%2C+nailing+12+points+each.
Photo by Photo by Samuel Falade

A pair of guards, graduate Destiny Pitts and junior Jordan Nixon, co-led the Aggies in scoring, nailing 12 points each.

After a long flight to the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Aggies showed no signs of jet lag.

On Thanksgiving, No. 23 Texas A&M women’s basketball participated in its first match of the annual Paradise Jam Tournament. The first matchup pitted the undefeated Aggies against another 4-0 opponent: the Pittsburgh Panthers.

The game’s opening quarter was a gritty, low-scoring fistfight, as the teams shot a combined 11 free throws and neither team hit double digits in points. A 3-pointer from graduate guard Destiny Pitts helped the Aggies tie the score at five, and free throws from graduate guards Kayla Wells and Qadashah Hoppie brought the period to a close with a 9-8 advantage for the maroon and white.

The scoring opened up a bit in the second period. A pair of layups from freshman forward Jada Malone kept the Aggies energized. Pittsburgh matched A&M’s offensive output, as junior guard Dayshanette Harris tallied eight points in the period. The Panthers entered the half with a narrow 20-19 advantage.

The Aggies came out of the locker room firing with Pitts and sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson opened the period with jumpers. Wells followed it up with five straight points of her own. Pittsburgh sophomore guard Liatu King stopped the run with a pair of buckets, but A&M’s Johnson splashed a jumper in the quarter’s waning seconds to give the Aggies a 39-37 lead entering the fourth.

“When the shots aren’t going, you have to be able to do other things to stay in the game. Those things are rebounding, sharing the basketball and playing defense,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “It took us a while to realize what a good shot was. When you’re on the road and it is the first game of a tournament, it can lead to some poor shooting, and that is exactly what happened tonight.”

The Aggies finally started to pull away in the fourth quarter. With only a 2-point cushion, junior guard Jordan Nixon found Pitts from beyond the arch to extend A&M’s lead to 50-45. From there, Nixon swished a jumper and a 3-pointer to give the Aggies their first double-digit lead of the night. A pair of shots from the charity stripe would keep the Panthers at bay, and A&M held on for a 57-46 victory.

Nixon and Pitts tied as the Aggies’ top scorers of the night, with each guard tallying 12 points. Pitts also tied for the team’s lead in rebounds, as she and Johnson each grabbed eight boards. Hoppie and Nixon were the team’s leading distributors with three assists each.

The victory kept A&M flawless, moving the squad to 5-0 on the season. Pittsburgh fell to 4-1.

“The only two kids that shot well came off the bench. Maliyah Johnson and Jada Malone were huge for us coming into the ballgame. We have to find ways to be better at scoring on the inside when it isn’t falling from the outside. The defense was solid tonight, and we didn’t allow a three for the second time this year. Give Pitt credit, they fought hard.”

The Aggies will compete in their second match of the Paradise Jam Tournament Friday, Nov. 26, taking on South Dakota. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

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