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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies drop non-conference test to Duke, 71-52

Freshman+G+Sydney+Bowles+%2800%29+shoots+the+ball+during+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+Texas+A%26amp%3BM-Corpus+Christi+at+Reed+Arena+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+10%2C+2022.
Photo by Luca Yaquinto

Freshman G Sydney Bowles (00) shoots the ball during A&M’s game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Reed Arena on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.

The Texas A&M women’s basketball team’s matchup with 3-0 Duke on Thursday, Nov. 17, in Durham, N.C., was set to serve as a litmus test for a program looking to return to national prominence after a forgettable 2021-22 campaign. Armed with a new head coach in Joni Taylor, the Aggies jumped to a 2-0 start to the season with big wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Army.
However, the maroon and white’s date with the Blue Devils showed that there’s still work to be done by A&M, as the Aggies dropped the contest, 71-52, at one of the great cathedrals of college basketball, Cameron Indoor Stadium.
As was the case in the team’s first two games, A&M was led by the talented freshman duo of forward Janiah Barker and guard Sydney Bowles. The one-time Georgia commits tallied 15 and 13 points, respectively, while shooting a combined 5-for-6 from 3-point range. Bowles was perfect from beyond the arc on three shots while scoring on a 5-for-6 clip overall.
Graduate forward Aaliyah Patty picked up where she left off as last year’s leading rebounder with a team-high 10 boards, as well as 10 points, a block and a steal. Turnovers proved to be the Aggies’ downfall, though, giving up 23 balls compared to Duke’s 11. A&M was also plagued by fouls, committing 22 next to 17 by the Blue Devils. The home team made 22 of 28 free throws, while the visitors shot 10-of-14 from the charity stripe.
Duke’s offense was paced by a quartet of scorers with 10 or more points. Senior guard Elizabeth Balogun dropped 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while senior guard and Texas transfer Celeste Taylor added 14 points and 10 rebounds. While held scoreless, redshirt junior guard and Baylor transfer Jordyn Oliver dished out six assists to lead the Blue Devils.
The Aggies got off to an early 8-6 lead three and a half minutes in, thanks to two 3-pointers by Bowles, but Duke responded with an 8-0 run in the following two minutes to take a 20-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Devils doubled their lead at halftime with a 40-24 advantage at the break, closing out the half with a 10-2 run as A&M shot a dreadful 3-for-14 in the quarter.
The Aggies did little to help their cause out of halftime, putting up just seven shot attempts, connecting on four of them. On the other hand, Duke scored 23 points in the third quarter, capping it off with a 12-3 scoring streak. A&M’s defense showed up in the fourth quarter, holding the Blue Devils to just eight points as the Aggies put up 14 to shorten the scoring margin before the contest came to a close.
“They sped us up, so we never could get into an offensive flow,” Taylor said. “Very rarely could we set our offense, and we didn’t do a good job of executing. … Duke did a really good job of never letting us feel comfortable in our offense and got us into a lot of low-clock situations where we had to force up some shots. We never settled down, offensively.”
A&M returns to the hardwood on Sunday, Nov. 20, as it takes on Texas Southern at Reed Arena. The Tigers, off to an 0-4 start to the year, are led by first-year coach Vernette Skeete, an associate head coach on last season’s A&M team. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

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