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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Women’s basketball faces first road test at Duke, returns home against Texas Southern

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Graduate F Aaliyah Patty (32) catches a rebound during a game against Army at Reed Arena on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022.

The Joni Taylor era in Aggieland is off to a hot start after a successful home stint for the Aggies, with 20-plus point wins against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Army. A&M faces its toughest test of the season so far as they travel to Durham, N.C., to take on the Duke Blue Devils, and then return home to host the Texas Southern Tigers.

For A&M so far this season, freshman forward Janiah Barker leads the team in points and steals per game with 12.5 and four, respectively, as well as being tied for first in rebounds per game with junior guard Sahara Jones, who are both averaging 7.5 per game. Graduate forward Aaliyah Patty leads the team in blocks per game with 2.5, and sophomore guard Tineya Hylton leads in assists per game with 5.5.

The Blue Devils play at Cameron Indoor Stadium, one of the most historic basketball arenas in the country, made famous by the accomplishments of former Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, known as “coach K.”

“I am pretty excited about [playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium],” Hylton said. “It’s definitely going to be a new environment for me and especially for us as a team. I think it will be pretty fun as well.”

Duke is currently 3-0 to start the season, with wins over North Carolina A&T, Davidson and a 111-50 drubbing of Charleston Southern. The Blue Devils are also just outside of the top 25, having received votes in last week’s poll.

“Duke is a really good team,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “They are talented at every position, they are very well coached. We’re going to get a good test early, and that’s what we want.”

Duke presents many unique challenges for the Aggies. The Blue Devils are a more experienced team than A&M, with a starting lineup composed of graduate forward Taya Corosdale, junior center Kennedy Brown, junior guard Jordyn Oliver, sophomore guard Lee Volker and senior guard Celeste Taylor, who leads the team with 12.6 points per game.

“We’re really young,” Taylor said. “Even when you look at our seniors, this is the first time they’ve been in the position to have the expectation and responsibility they have, so we’re going to find out really soon on Thursday where we are good, where we need to get better and where we’ve been exposed.”

The Blue Devils also present a challenge in their transition offense, which has translated to the 53rd-best scoring offense in the country at 82.7 points per game and the 60th-best field goal percentage at 47.5%. Duke is tied for eighth in the country in assists per game with 22.

“They run really, really well in transition for 40 minutes,” Taylor said. “There’s no let up at all in terms of how they run. They share the ball extremely well. It’s amazing how well they pass the ball and play together, and again, everyone that is on the floor is a threat. It really stretches you defensively because they are all capable of scoring.”

The Aggies are looking to use their two early season victories as a foundation for this early test against the Blue Devils, as they try to improve their overall offensive and defensive efficiency.

“We have some gaps in offense where we’re still relying too much on being told what to do and not being in a flow,” Taylor said. “I think we can still pursue the offensive boards a little bit better, and I still think defensively we still got to continue to lean in on our principles and some of the things we want to do on the defensive end.”

A&M will take on Duke on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., and the game can be seen on the ACC Network.

After their matchup against the Blue Devils, the Aggies will then return home on Sunday to face the Texas Southern Tigers.

Texas Southern has struggled heavily to start the season with a winless 0-3 record and an average margin of defeat of 37.3 points, including a 49-point loss to UT-Arlington to start the season.

The Tigers are a younger team than the Aggies, with a whopping seven freshmen on the roster, including three in the starting lineup in guard Kamryn Bates, forward Donterria Brown and guard Micah Gray.

Texas Southern’s leading scorer is junior guard Adriana Avent, who is averaging 17 points per game with a season-high 24 points in its most recent loss to Stephen F. Austin State University.

The Aggies play against the Tigers on Sunday, Nov. 20, back home in Reed Arena at 2 p.m.

For more information on A&M women’s basketball, visit 12thman.com or find the team on Twitter and Instagram @aggiewbb.

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