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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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Photo by Photo by Adriano Espinosa
Aicha Coulibaly lifted to her feet as a devastating loss sets in for the Texas A&M women’s basketball team against Mississippi State at Reed Arena on Feb 4, 2024.(Adriano Espinosa/ The Battalion)

After Texas A&M women’s basketball began its game against Mississippi State on an 11-2 run, there was hope that the Aggies would send the Bulldogs out of Reed Arena with a loss.

But looks can be deceiving: In that 11-2 run, A&M had four turnovers — the statistic that would prove to be the bane of the Aggies more than any other in their 74-63 loss to the Bulldogs on Feb. 4.

“We turned it over in the first quarter, the second quarter, I mean, we turned it over the entire game,” A&M coach Joni Taylor said. “When you’re playing a team that’s that good, you can’t give them the basketball.”

A&M went on to finish the game with 22 turnovers, leading to 23 Mississippi State points off turnovers.

Unforced Errors

The low point for the Aggies came at halftime, as Mississippi State went on an 18-2 run to end the second half to give the Bulldogs a 31-23 lead at the break. A&M’s turnovers at the halfway point? 13.

Taylor’s message to the team at halftime addressed the issue, graduate guard Endyia Rogers says.

“She said, ‘We’re fine, we just need to stop turning the ball over,’” Rogers said. “And we got it, and we stopped turning the ball over.’”

And for a while, the Aggies did stop making those mistakes. A&M limited itself to four turnovers in the third quarter, while shooting 57% from the field and outscoring the Bulldogs 17-12 to enter the final period down 43-40.

But another five turnovers in the fourth quarter combined with Mississippi State not only shooting 67% during the quarter but getting to the foul line 18 times as well doomed the Aggies in the end — despite nearly every other statistical category being nearly even.

Shooting percentage? A&M 40%, Mississippi State 41%. Rebounds? A&M held the advantage on the glass 39-34. Steals, blocks, assists and more were all decided by a a difference of one-to-two

“There were some good things we did out there today,” Taylor said. “We just can’t turn it over the way we did.”

Bulldog Adaptability

After upsetting No. 9 LSU on Jan. 29, Mississippi State was able to avoid the hangover game loss to the Aggies thanks to their own depth and adaptability.

Bulldog senior G Jerkaila Jordan entered the game averaging 16.9 points per game and earned SEC Co-Player of the Week honors after putting up 24 points while leading Mississippi State to the road win in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

A&M was able to limit her to just 11 points, and graduate center Jessika Carter to a mere 2-10 from the field. But graduate forward Erynn Barnum and senior G Darrione Rogers picked up the slack. Barnum led the way with 22 points, while Rogers added 18 of her own.

“They’ve got five players on the roster who have scored over 1,200 points in their career,” Taylor said. “And so you focus on [Jordan], because she’s really good and Carter because she’s really good. But Rogers gave us 18 tonight … You focus on one or there’s one that’s quiet, and then they’re the ones who take over in the fourth quarter.”

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About the Contributor
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and 
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