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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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Near-perfect third quarter saves Aggies against South Dakota

Photo by Photo by Samuel Falade

Graduate student and guard Kayla Wells was one of two Aggies to score a total of 15 points in the 65-50 victory over Little Rock. 

Down nine at halftime, the No. 23 Texas A&M women’s basketball team appeared to be on upset-watch. However, the Aggies turned their fortune with a nearly flawless third quarter to remain undefeated on the season.

The Aggies struggled out the gate for the second game in a row, shooting about 31% from the field and scoring just 21 points across the first two quarters. In A&M’s first four games, the Aggies averaged 44 first-half points per game. During their first two games at the Paradise Jam tournament, they averaged 20.

“We were ready to play, but South Dakota executed its offense very well,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “We didn’t answer the bell and were lucky to have only been down by [nine] at the half. We were settling for shots and made some mistakes on both sides of the ball.”

With a halftime score of 30-21 in favor of the Coyotes, the Aggies needed a locker-room spark. A&M graduate guard Kayla Wells provided that spark for the Aggies, squashing South Dakota’s upset wishes. Wells scored eight points in the third quarter and recorded one block and one rebound while only missing one shot.

Behind Wells’ play, and a renewed sense of defensive urgency, the Aggies outscored the Coyotes 24-2 in the third. A&M hit eight of its 14 shots while holding South Dakota to just one make in 12 attempts.

After this drastic turnaround, A&M found itself with a 13-point lead just minutes after being down by nine. The Aggies cruised through the fourth quarter en route to their sixth consecutive victory. A&M improved to 6-0 on the season while the Coyotes fell to 2-4.

“I am glad our kids responded to what we had to say at halftime,” Blair said. “They came out with a defensive presence and played possessed in the second half. We have to learn how to open up that way.”

Wells came into the game as A&M’s leading scorer this year. She knocked down eight of her 11 shots for a game-high 20 points, one of two Aggies who scored in double-digits. Junior guard Jordan Nixon, who had two big 3-pointers in the third-quarter run, finished the game with 13 points and a team-high three assists.

The Aggies’ leader in rebounds, graduate guard Destiny Pitts, struggled shooting the ball. Pitts only sank one of her eight attempts, but she grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds.

For the Coyotes, two players scored double-digit points. Liv Korngable, a redshirt senior guard, scored a team-high 11 points on just 33% shooting. Hannah Sjerven, a redshirt senior center, put up 10 points on 27% shooting from the field, adding on six rebounds and two assists.

“We have to give credit to our opponent who has been to three-straight NCAA Tournaments,” Blair said. “Coach [Greg] Brown made some great adjustments.”

A&M will face Northwestern in the final leg of the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27.

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