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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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Traveling to Tuscaloosa

Freshman+guard+Chennedy+Carter+leads+her+team+with+96+assists+and+36+steals.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Freshman guard Chennedy Carter leads her team with 96 assists and 36 steals. 

The Aggies enter the game after a narrow overtime loss to Georgia on Sunday, 92-84. The maroon and white got off to a slow start in the game, netting just 23 percent (4-of-17) from the field in the first quarter. The Aggies found their rhythm offensively, scoring 42 points in the second half and forcing overtime. However, Georgia’s offense wore the Aggie defense down, outscoring them 19 to 11 in the overtime period and winning the game.
A&M head coach Gary Blair attributes the loss to his team’s inability to limit Georgia’s three best players: Caliya Robinson, Mackenzie Engram and Gabby Connally, who had 19, 23 and 37 points, respectively.
“Their big three players had 78 points,” Blair said. “My three are averaging 52 [points per game], they had 59 and it still wasn’t enough. We’ve got to do such a better job on defense that we’re not doing right now.”
The biggest thing the Aggies will look to adjust is the speed of their defensive rotations, as the Aggies were slow to close out Georgia, which led to open shots on the perimeter.
“We didn’t execute a lot of things on defense, we missed a lot of our rotations,” junior forward Anriel Howard said. “We forced a few of our shots. Defense is more so what we have to work on for sure, because we weren’t rotating and gambling as a team as well as we should have.”
A&M will have little room for error defensively, as Alabama boasts strong guard play from Hannah Cook and Shaquera Wade who are averaging 13.8 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Alabama also comes into the game winning three of their last four SEC games, proving they are not a team the Aggies can overlook.
“They know how to score, they’ve got some really good guards and some posts that can finish at the rim,” Howard said. “It’s going to be a matter of us wanting to win and having the desire to play hard.”
An area of emphasis for A&M this week has been passing. The Aggies rank fourth in the SEC in points per game but are eighth in the SEC in assists. In order to be more efficient on offense, Blair points out that his team needs to be more patient and wait for a better opportunity.
“We’re shooting the ball with 15 seconds to go on the shot clock too many times, when we need to work the ball around a little more,” Blair said. “We need to go from a shot to a good shot to a great shot, and that just takes a little patience.”
Sunday’s game was the Aggies’ second straight overtime game. Senior Khaalia Hillsman, who played all 45 minutes against Georgia, said the Aggies will be fresh coming into tonight’s game.
“Being tired is just a mindset,” Hillsman said. “If you think about how tired you are, you’re going to get more tired. Yesterday we came in, got some recovery and we feel good. It helped our mentality.”
Added to the stakes in tonight’s game is the fact that Blair considers it to be a “friendly rivalry game” as Alabama head coach Kristy Curry used to be an assistant coach at A&M and her husband, Kelly Curry, now an assistant coach at Alabama, is an A&M graduate.
The Aggies game against Alabama will be televised on SEC Network+. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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  • Junior forward Anriel Howard has contributed 215 points to the Aggies during the 2017-2018 season. 

    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

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