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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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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies look to take control in the paint against LSU

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Freshman guard Chennedy Carter was 9-for-31 against Tennessee.

In a loaded SEC women’s basketball conference, no game can be overlooked. The No. 16 Aggies (15-5, 4-2 SEC) understand the importance of playing the best game possible no matter the opponent and currently hold a 14-1 record against unranked opponents after defeating Alabama (13-6, 2-4 SEC), 73-54 on Thursday night.
Prior to the game, Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair preached that an area of emphasis the Aggies needed to improve on was their shot selection and avoiding contested shots. The Aggies executed that well, making the extra pass, which often meant finding senior Khaalia Hillsman open in the paint. Hillsman dominated at the goal and led the Aggies in scoring in the first half with 12 points. Hillsman was also key in extending possessions as she grabbed five offensive rebounds in the first half alone.
The Aggies shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field and held a 35-27 lead over the Crimson Tide at halftime.
Hillsman continued her domination in the second half, with help from freshman guard Chennedy Carter, who had a monstrous half. Carter found success driving to the basket, as she was often fouled and was able to try to draw an and-one play. Carter had 14 points on (3-of-6) shooting and made six out of seven free throws.
“This team is a whole lot better than earlier in the year,” Blair said. “I think we’ve gotten better through trial and error or failure and I think that’s why we’re a better team.”
The Aggies were stout defensively, which due in part to Alabama’s loss of leading scorer Ashley Williams, who was out with an injury. Also working in the Aggies’ favor was A&M forward Jasmine Walker, who notched a career-high 11 rebounds, all on defense.
The Aggies will now play LSU (12-5, 4-2 SEC), who come into the match after a win over Auburn. The Tigers are led by guards Chloe Jackson and Raigyne Louis who are averaging 16.6 and 15.9 points per game, respectively.
Despite the threat these two guards pose, especially from behind the arc, Blair said the key to the game will be ensuring the Aggies dominate the paint.
“We have to win the battle inside,” Blair said. “We’ve got more seasoned kids inside with [Anriel] Howard and Hillsman. We have to win that battle.”
A&M will return home for the matchup, where the Aggies have fared well and currently hold a 10-3 record.
“It would be nice to come home and show our fans at home that we can play against another top-level team like LSU, who’s tied with us (in SEC play) and play the type of game that we have on the road about four or five times this year,” Blair said.
The Aggies were ranked No. 14 in the first Women’s Basketball Committee tournament rankings revealed on Thursday.
“They had us ranked as an easy No. 14 due to our strength of schedule, our win over Tennessee and our no fear about playing top teams in the country,” Blair said. “I think when we played South Carolina and Georgia as well as we did, we showed people what we were all about.”
The Aggies game against LSU will be televised on SEC Network. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Reed Arena.

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