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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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A&M women’s basketball survives Stephen F. Austin comeback effort

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Photo by Photo by Samuel Falade

On Thursday, Nov. 18 the Texas A&M women’s basketball team defeated SFA in closely scored game of 82-75.  

A big game by graduate guard Kayla Wells pushed the No. 24 Aggies past Stephen F. Austin.
The Aggies opened coach Gary Blair’s final season with a 4-0 start for the third year in a row with their 82-75 victory against an undefeated Stephen F. Austin on Thursday, Nov. 18 .
Wells led the way for A&M with 24 points, hitting seven of her 11 shots. She also drew a game-high 12 free throw attempts, sinking 10 of them.
Much of the game was characterized by the sheer number of fouls called. In 40 minutes of action, the referees blew their whistles and dished out 50 personal fouls across both teams. The Aggies shot 30 free throws, making 26, and the Ladyjacks shot 21, nailing 18.
Three other Aggies had double-digit scoring nights, including junior guard Jordan Nixon, who finished the game with 14 points and a game-high five assists. Like Wells, Nixon was successful in drawing fouls, taking and making nine shots from the charity stripe.
Nixon and Wells combined for 21 free throw attempts, which Blair said is a good sign.
“That means that the right people are getting to the line. That’s what we have to do,” Blair said.
Off the bench for the Aggies, graduate guards Qadashah Hoppie and Destiny Pitts scored 16 and 15 points, respectively. Senior forward Aaliyah Patty led A&M with a game-high nine rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
“Given that we have so many shooters on the floor at once, our opponents are not able to help off of anybody,” Hoppie said. “We are able to consistently find the open man and knock down the shot.”
Other than the fouls, A&M was held back by a propensity to turn the ball over. The Aggies combined for 24 turnovers as a team, 10 of which came in the third quarter alone. The refs called multiple travels on both teams, and the Ladyjacks racked up eight steals.
A major factor toward the high volume of turnovers by the Aggies was the defensive execution by Stephen F. Austin. The Ladyjacks, who had not allowed more than 60 points in their first three games, applied a full-court press through all four quarters. They were also prone to throw double teams, forcing the Aggies to think and react quickly.
“When they were down, we knew that they were going to pick up the pressure,” Wells said. “We didn’t pick it up on our end and take care of the ball like we were supposed to.”
Despite the fouls and turnovers holding the Aggies back, they managed to maintain control of the score for the majority of the game. The Ladyjacks only managed to hold a lead for a minute and a half during the whole night, and were down by as much as 20 points early in the fourth quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, Stephen F. Austin was down 67-49. Despite the deficit, the Ladyjacks continued to fight back, outscoring the Aggies 26 to 15 and holding them to just 29% shooting in the final quarter.
Stephen F. Austin’s comeback effort was largely sparked by sophomore forward Avery Brittingham, who had 17 points, scoring 13 in the fourth before fouling out. The Ladyjacks’ senior guard from Sweden, Stephanie Visscher, was also a major factor in the comeback attempt, leading her team with 18 points, 14 of them coming in the second half.
Behind Brittingham and Visscher’s efforts, Stephen F. Austin was able to bring the score back within five points with only 42 seconds remaining. However, the Aggies managed to close it out after a costly turnover by Visscher that iced the game.
“We just have to do a better job down the stretch of closing out games,” Wells said. “It’s the beginning of the season, things like this are going to happen, but it shows us what we need to get better at.”
A&M will get the opportunity to extend its win streak with a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam tournament. The maroon and whitewill play three consecutive days from Nov. 25 through Nov. 27, playing Pitt, South Dakota and Northwestern, all of which will tip off at 7 p.m.

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