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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Five takeaways from A&M’s close win over Troy

Courtesy of Rodolfo Gonzalez, NCAA Photos

Senior guard Aaliyah Wilson fights for possession of the ball in No. 2 seed A&M’s first round game against 15-seed Troy.

AUSTIN, Texas — A high-scoring game was expected for Texas A&M’s tournament opener against Troy, and it was delivered Monday evening. The No. 2 seeded Aggies squeaked by 15-seed Troy 84-80 after a back-and-forth fourth quarter. Here are five takeaways from A&M’s Round of 64 win:

A duo of double-doubles

Two seniors, center Ciera Johnson and forward N’dea Jones recorded double-doubles for the third time this season and for the first time since Jan. 3. Johnson scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Jones followed with 11 and 10 rebounds. The duo has started in 89 straight games for A&M and each of them are tattooed in the A&M history books as Johnson is a member of the Aggies’ 1,000 career points club and Jones leads the program in career rebounds with 1,036.

Setting the pace

The Aggies jumped to a quick lead against Troy and maintained a 10-point advantage at halftime after outscoring the Trojans 25-17 in the first and 24-18 in the second. Although Troy would charge back and outscore A&M in the third and fourth quarters, the Aggies maintained a lead for 31:42 of the game. Troy would take the lead in the fourth for just over one minute before A&M iced out the game with heroic performances by senior guards Aaliyah Wilson and Destiny Pitts and sophomore guard Jordan Nixon.

Pitts’s clutch free throws

Pitts put the game just out of reach from Troy with four huge made free throws all within the last six seconds of the game. Pitts, a transfer from the University of Minnesota, was named the SEC Sixth Woman of the Year and is fifth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage. Shooting 90 percent from behind the free throw stripe, Pitts is one of A&M’s most efficient scorers this season shooting 45 percent from the floor and 47 percent from beyond the arc. A&M finished the game 20-of-24 from the free throw line and were 7-of-8 in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Nixon

Sophomore guard Jordan Nixon led the Aggies in scoring a career-high 21 points and is on a seven-game double-digit scoring streak. Nixon did most of her work in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points by going a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor. After Troy jumped to a 6-0 run in the fourth, taking the lead from A&M for the first time in the game, Nixon responded for the Aggies with impressive drives and baseline jumpers to take the lead back for A&M. Ending the game with four drawn charges, a 60 percent field goal percentage and shooting 50 percent from three-point range, Nixon solidified herself as A&M coach Gary Blair’s closer.

Championship defense

A major difference maker in A&M’s narrow win over Troy was the Aggies’ defense. For the first half of the game, the stat sheet was lop-sided with fouls as Troy collected 11 to A&M’s three as the aggressive A&M offense forced contact. Fouls would even out in the second half, but Troy’s foul trouble early proved fatal. Two of the Trojan starters played reduced minutes due to fouls and the game-leading scorer, senior forward Alexus Dye, fouled out of the game in the fourth. Senior forward Tyasia Moore fouled out for the Trojans as well after playing only 14 minutes off the bench. Troy turned the ball over 18 times and senior guard Aaliyah Wilson contributed a career-high six steals to A&M’s game total eight.
Next, A&M will face No. 5 seed Iowa State in the Round of 32 on Wednesday.

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