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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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June 16, 2024

Jones leads A&M to close win over Georgia

Junior%26%23160%3BNdea+Jones%26%23160%3Bfights+around+a+defender+to+put+up+a+shot.+She+had+21+points+against+Georgia.
Photo by Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Junior N’dea Jones fights around a defender to put up a shot. She had 21 points against Georgia.

A 20-point double-double for junior forward N’dea Jones was just enough as Texas A&M women’s basketball held off Georgia’s late comeback attempt to top the Bulldogs 64-63.
Jones led both teams in scoring with 21 points coming off an efficient 73 percent from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Jones also led both teams in rebounds with 10, which include two of the four offensive rebounds A&M grabbed the entire game. The 10 rebounds for Jones marked her ninth consecutive double-double this season.
“It shows consistency,” Jones said. “I’m trying my hardest to be consistent this year so I’m happy that I’m staying with that.”
A&M coach Gary Blair praised Jones for her accomplishment and tenacity on the court.
“I expect N’dea to do that every night,” Blair said. “It’s such a shame she isn’t getting player of the week in the SEC. The person she was guarding, she held her to 1-of-4 shooting and three points.”
The physicality Jones played with was something Georgia played with the entire game, starting with a scoreless first five minutes for the Aggies.
To start the first quarter, Georgia went on an 8-0 run, but a basket from guard Shambria Washington kick-started an 8-0 run for the Aggies. Tied at 8, both teams scored another four points to end a low scoring first quarter at 12-12.
To start the second quarter, a Georgia three-point shot was followed up by a 14-1 scoring run from A&M. In that span, the Aggies made six of their eight field goal attempts compared to Georgia making only one of seven shots to open the second quarter. The run did not stop there as after a timeout, the Aggies extended the lead 30-16. After the two teams traded baskets, the Aggies went into halftime with a 35-20 lead over Georgia.
After a tied first quarter, A&M’s efficient shooting opened up the game for them. In a quarter where Georgia only converted three of their 14 field goal attempts from the floor, A&M was able to shoot 9-of-12 (75 percent) from the floor and converted their only three-point attempt of the half.
To start the second half, Georgia went on a quick 8-3 scoring run to reduce its deficit to nine, but a basket from guard Aaliyah Wilson kept the lead at double digits. A&M took their 51-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
With roughly three minutes left in the game, a three from Georgia guard Gabby Connally, free throws from Jenna Staiti, and another pull up jumper reduced the Aggies’ lead to just three.
With 1:10 left in the game, senior center Ciera Johnson made a post shot to give the Aggies a five-point lead, but that was quickly reduced as Georgia guard Que Morrison and Georgia center Jenna Staiti converted consecutive baskets.
What was once a 17-point lead was now a one-point lead with 11 seconds left. After a missed basket by Georgia, junior guard Kayla Wells was fouled and converted both of her free throw attempts. After another miss by Georgia, junior guard Aahliyah Jackson grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Even though she converted only one of the two free throws, it was good enough to pull out a 64-63 win as a Connally three at the buzzer could not complete Georgia’s comeback.
This win pushes A&M to 18-3 on the season and 6-2 in conference play while Georgia now falls to 12-9 on the season and 3-5 in the conference.
Three of A&M’s five starters finished the game with double-digit points. Johnson scored 17 points on 44 percent shooting, and Wells scored 14 points on 71 percent shooting. Contrary to most games, Wells was not able to attempt a three-point shot, something coach Gary Blair said was a result of the physical Georgia defense.
“How many times do you go into a game where Kayla Wells doesn’t even attempt a three?” Blair said. “That may be the first time in her career. Georgia was guarding our guards so tough it was hard to get any space.”
The Aggies will take to the road en route to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as they face LSU on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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