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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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Not enough

With a new career high in points scored, Coulibaly and the Aggies fell to the Gamecocks
Photo by Adriano Espinosa
Texas A&M guard Aicha Coulibaly (5) makes a free throw during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

With a tough 79-68 loss against No. 1 South Carolina in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, Texas A&M women’s basketball’s senior guard Aicha Coulibaly put on a 32-point show.

Confidence is key

Entering the game 20 seconds later than her first sub-in during the Mississippi State game, graduate G Endyia Rogers entered the South Carolina quarterfinal at 5:47.

Taken down to the court by the Gamecocks’ defense in the second, she continued to dribble and kept possession. Rogers’ confidence on the ball impacted her teammates and the game as she hit her first 3 of the game in the third quarter.

Coulibaly left the court for some time due to a potential neck or head injury but returned soon after and scored 13 of her 32 points for the Aggies in the third.

“We had to fight for 40 minutes,” Coulibaly said. “We stayed composed and did what we do well.”

With an average of 13 points a game, Coulibaly matched that in one quarter against the Gamecocks.Coulibaly’s shooting against the Gamecocks bodes well for the Aggies if they make the NCAA Tournament.

“I think we are an NCAA Tournament team,” coach Joni Taylor said. “We came here and took care of business yesterday and competed really well with the No. 1 team in the country.”

Can’t outdo the doer

Even with South Carolina’s new starting five, the Aggies shouldn’t have expected a varied scoreline as the Gamecocks’ bench points per game are No. 2 in the country.

The Aggies kept the game close in the first by having an active, attentive defense, but as the second progressed, the Maroon and White were running out of steam.

With a once 17-16 lead, A&M went to halftime down by 11 with a 33-22 score as South Carolina’s offense did not slow, and the Aggies hit wall after wall.

Rogers’ first three shots from the field were attempted 3-pointers and were all misses. Both teams had made three 3s in the first half, but the Aggies attempted 10 and the Gamecocks only five.

At the free throw line, South Carolina had a perfect run into the third with a 10 for 10 record. Overall, the Gamecocks were 17-22 from the line while the Aggies ended at 16-22.

Gamecocks led in … turnovers?

With the Aggies forcing nearly double the amount of turnovers that the Gamecocks average, they should have been able to score off more than they did. The No. 1 ranked team in blocks per game showed out against the Maroon and White, though.

“We stayed composed and [did] not let them dictate the game,” Coulibaly said.

Averaging 13 turnovers a game, South Carolina gave up possession 10 times in the first quarter and 24 overall.

The Aggies needed to capitalize on the turnovers to lead the No. 1 team in the nation. With A&M only scoring 5 points off the 10 turnovers, the Maroon and White hadn’t taken full advantage of the Gamecocks’ mistakes.

South Carolina hit the locker rooms with 15 turnovers to A&M’s 10. In the second, the Gamecocks took the lead in points off turnovers with 8 over the Aggies’ 7. By the end of the game, the Aggies capitalized on the turnovers with 16 points.

Now, A&M awaits Selection Sunday to see if its efforts in the SEC Tournament were enough to extend its season.

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