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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 unable to stop a well-oiled Missouri offense

A Nguyen

Freshman F Janiah Barker (2) shots the basketball in front of Freshman G Ashton Judd (24) to add points on the scoreboard at Reed Arena on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

The Texas A&M women’s basketball team returned home to Reed Arena to take on the Missouri Tigers on Monday, Feb. 20. It was a celebratory night at Reed as Black History Month was highlighted along with the Divine Nine, of which coach Joni Taylor, assistant coach Robert Mosley and assistant coach Katherine Graham are all members. The Aggies couldn’t find an answer on the special night for the Tigers as they fell 61-35 to the squad.
“We knew they were going to pack the paint and dare us to shoot the basketball,” Taylor said. “I thought offensively that we rushed some shots and when we had a chance to pass it in when the defense collapsed, we didn’t. I don’t think we took a ton of bad shots offensively, we just did not make them.”
A fast-paced battle ensued in the opening minutes on the hardwood as both teams traded shot attempts. Missouri opened scoring on its first possession with a jump shot from graduate guard Haley Troup.
Meanwhile the Aggies looked unsettled in the beginning with missed passes and even with good open looks at the basket, shots could not be knocked down. Eventually, junior guard Sahara Jones broke the seal for the maroon and white from under the basket with a layup.
Foul trouble started early for the Aggies as four of the starting five players finished the quarter with fouls. The series of fouls from freshman forward Janiah Barker, sophomore guard Tineya Hylton and junior guard Kay Kay Green created constant rotations and subs for the Aggies.
“I think they got frustrated by the fouls,” Taylor said. “That is a mental toughness piece we’ve got to get over.”
A&M also struggled offensively, finishing the first quarter with just four points. A second basket was made for the Aggies when Jones found a wide open Barker under the basket. The play came after junior guard Mama Dembele picked up back-to-back fouls near the five minute mark of the first quarter.
The spark wasn’t enough for the Aggies as Troup nailed a 3-point jumper on the other end of the floor. Shortly after, Barker picked up her second foul and headed to the Aggie bench, seemingly frustrated with disappointment on her face. Two trips to the freethrow line gave Missouri four points to conclude the quarter, 14-4.
Senior forward Haley Frank opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer for the Tigers. An aggressive Jones continued to be the offensive answer for the Aggies when she made back-to-back jumpers to bring the team within 11 points.
Cutting the deficit to 10 points with a free throw right before halftime was a fiery Aaliyah Patty. The graduate forward attacked under the basket to get an offensive board and drew a foul on the put back attempt.
The Aggies came out visibly more aggressive in the third as freshman guard Sydney Bowles quickly found her way into the paint to start the quarter with a layup. A third foul on senior guard Lauren Hansen sent Patty to the line, where she made one of two free throw attempts.
Shortly after a wide open Troup knocked down a 3-pointer in front of an erupting Tigers bench. Hylton quickly answered with a jumper for the Aggies but Missouri’s Frank quieted a cheering Aggie crowd by knocking down another 3-pointer.
Jones continued to fight for the Aggies, following with a 3-point shot of her own to keep A&M alive. A rowdy Reed arena was thrilled as a traveling violation on the next possession gave the ball back to the Aggies. Jones capitalized off of the turnover by driving to the basket to put the Aggies back within 11 with a layup.
“I thought we had more movement,” Taylor said about the second half. “Sahara came out and started knocking down some shots to start opening things up for us.”
Despite the Aggies playing with more aggression and determination in the third and fourth quarters, the team could not slow down the Tigers offense and find an answer for the three ball.
Missouri shot 42-47 at 51% and were 6-14 in 3-pointers, shooting 42%. Freshman guard Ashton Judd led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points. Frank and Troup added 11 points each as Troup shot 3-3 from the 3-point line.
The Aggies were 14-53, shooting only 26%. Jones was the only Aggie in double digits with 14 points and three assists. Patty and Barker both added seven points of their own.
The last home game of the season is set for Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m against the Kentucky Wildcats.

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