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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

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Women’s basketball loses a nail-biter to Rice in final game of home stretch

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Photo by Luca Yaquinto

Freshman F Janiah Barker (2) helps up Graduate G McKinzie Green (23) after a foul during A&M’s game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Reed Arena on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.

After a chaotic Saturday night in College Station, Aggie fans filed into Reed Arena on Sunday, Nov. 27, to watch A&M take on the undefeated Rice Owls. The weekend of fun would be spoiled for the Aggies, however, as A&M was handed its second loss of the season by the Owls, 66-58.
The game was close throughout, with no team managing to pull away from one another going into the fourth quarter. The Owls outscored the Aggies 21-14 in the fourth, a quarter in which Rice shot 50% from the field.
“I thought we executed pretty well for most of the game,” coach Joni Taylor said. “And then we get in the fourth quarter and we don’t execute some of the things we’re running on offense, and then defensively we had a lot of lapses as well … I just thought there was a lack of execution and lock-in on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter.”
A&M did make its presence known down low, with 48 of its 58 points coming from inside the paint or from the foul line. Freshman forward Janiah Barker led the charge, scoring 19 points. The Aggies went a cold 2-for-15 from 3, with both 3s coming from freshman guard Sydney Bowles.
“We knew we had a size advantage,” Taylor said. “The plan was to always go inside, and then when that collapses, we’ve got capable 3-point shooters, but we’ve got to have a good balance there. We can’t rely on the 3-point shot, and we can’t just rely on the paint, but going inside was something we always thought we were going to be able to do.”
Rice was able to match A&M’s production in the paint, scoring 50 of its own 66 from the paint and the charity stripe. The Owls found ways to drive on the Aggies’ defense and find easy looks close to the basket.
“We can’t guard the basketball right now,” Taylor said. “We just get driven. And so then it forces help rotation, and they’ve got great shooters on the perimeter. So we rotate, and there’s another rotation, and there’s another rotation, and so we just continue to get driven all night long. It just forces rotations all night long until they finally found the open man. It’s something that we’ve talked about, we know it’s an issue for us and it got exposed tonight.”
It appeared A&M would begin to pull away in the second half, as the Aggies opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run. Rice didn’t go down easily, as a foul on Rice sophomore guard Trinity Gooden helped right the ship for the Owls in the third, out-scoring the Aggies 20-11 for the rest of the quarter.
“I thought we came out and gave ourselves a good cushion,” Taylor said. “And then we foul a 3-point shooter, we get an intentional foul, it swings the game. We can’t do things like that, that’s a part of lack of experience, but also some of that we know better. You can’t foul a jump-shooter. That’s something that we did, we gave up 22 points at Duke fouling a jump-shooter … and again it’s having that carry over because that is a huge moment change when that happened.”
For A&M, this loss puts the team at 4-2 on the season. For Rice, this victory adds to its undefeated streak at 6-0, the best start in their school’s history.
“[Starting 6-0] feels amazing,” senior Rice forward Ashlee Austin said. “We’ve played A&M two times before, we missed the game last year because of [COVID-19], so it just feels amazing to come in here and get that win finally. I feel like we’ve been waiting for it since our freshman year.”
The Aggies have to rebound quickly after this loss, as they go on the road to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse.
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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