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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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June 23, 2024

Jones, Johnson lead way for Aggies over Gators

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Photo by Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Junior forward N’Dea Jones went three for four from the free throw line.

Forward N’dea Jones finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, as the Texas A&M women’s basketball team dominated the Florida Gators 69-42 at Reed Arena on Sunday.
Coming off of back-to-back losses to LSU and Kentucky, the No. 12 Aggies (15-3, 1-0 SEC) were able to snap their two-game losing streak with a solid win at home. For the Gators (11-8, 2-4 SEC), a loss leaves them looking for their first win over a ranked team this season, having gone 0-5 against ranked opponents including their last two games.
After a slow first quarter which had both teams shooting less than 22 percent from the floor, the Aggies picked up momentum in the second quarter, using a 15-3 scoring run at the end of the half to take a 12-point lead at the break. In the third quarter, the Aggies and the Gators went back and forth with scoring runs, with A&M leading by 16 going into the fourth. The Aggies finished the game strong, shooting 8-of-14 from the field to help pull away from the Gators, taking a 30-point lead before winning 69-42.
Jones said continuing to shoot and being able to record offensive rebounds helped the team overcome its slow start offensively.
“Honestly we felt like the shots that we were taking were so good, they just weren’t going in,” Jones said. “So our mindset was just keep shooting, because eventually the ball was going to go in. We knew we needed to get offensive rebounds, because if the ball isn’t going in, [getting rebounds] can help with our confidence.”
Playing without star scorer Chennedy Carter, the Aggies’ offense relied upon the post presence of Jones and Ciera Johnson, who both shined. Jones finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and two assists and two steals, recording with her sixth straight double-double, and her eighth of the season. Johnson finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four blocks, and recorded her sixth double-double of the season. Jones and Johnson have now recorded double-doubles in the same game for the fourth time this season, and move into a tie with Danielle Adams for fifth on the Aggie career double-doubles list.
Jones credits their connection on the court for helping establish a rhythm in the game.
“We kind of know by now where we are on the court,” Jones said. “I would say we have done a pretty good job of reading our defenses and where our defenses [are]. We know and read each other very well, and we make sure that we’re always ready for each other.”
With the dominant performances from Jones and Johnson, the Aggies found success in the paint, outrebounding the Gators 46-41. With the team gathering 17 offensive rebounds, the Aggies were able to use those rebounds to finish offensive possessions, finishing with a season-high 21 second-chance points.
A&M coach Gary Blair credits the energy the team had with helping them capitalize on second chance opportunities.
“I love anything that involves energy and today we had energy and we played like it,” Blair said. “Particularly some of our kids off the bench played with the energy that we had to have. I was very pleased with that.”
In the backcourt, guard Kayla Wells boosted the offense, scoring 13 points off of 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. With Wells being able to make the deep shot, shooting 2-of-3 from the three-point line, the Aggies were able to keep pressure off of their paint presence. Coming off of the bench, senior Jasmine Williams provided an offensive spark for the Aggies, scoring 11 points off of 5-of-8 shooting.
On the defensive end, the Aggies held the Gators to 27 percent shooting from the field, including 4-of-21 of their shots from three-point range. The game marks the fifth time this season that the Aggies were able to hold an opponent to less than 30 percent shooting from the field. In the fourth quarter, the Aggies held Florida to 3-of-17 from the floor and 0-of-9 from deep.
One area where the Aggies were able to take an advantage over Florida was in the turnover department, where they had an advantage 16-8. The Aggies’ full-court press defense forced the Gators into mistakes, with the defense recording eight steals. With the large amount of turnovers recorded, the Aggies were able to turn that into points on the other end, finishing with 16 points off of turnovers.
Blair credited assistant coach Bob Starkey for the strong defensive performance.
“Coach Starkey is an outstanding defensive coach, and the kids respond to him very well,” Blair said.
After securing a win at home, the Aggies return to the road against another SEC opponent, taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Jan. 23 at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tipoff against the Crimson Tide is set for 7 p.m., with the game also being streamed on SEC Network+.

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