The Texas A&M women’s basketball team knew they had to dominate the boards against a Texas State team that ranks a respectable 43rd nationally in rebounds per game. It was the focus of head coach Joni Taylor’s discussions and drills ahead of Wednesday’s home game against the Bobcats.
Ultimately, it was the Aggies’ prowess on the offensive boards that saw them break up early in their 67-46 win at the Reed Arena.
“Joni told us they’re a team that boxes really hard, and on their side they’re also good at rebounding from the weak side,” said A&M junior Sahara Jones. “On our side we had to get back up and get offensive rebounds so we could make that split early. That’s what we focused on in practice: offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, any rebounding you can get.”
The Aggies (4-1) had 13 offensive rebounds that resulted in 20 second-chance points. Eight of those points came in the first half from six offensive rebounds.
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Jones scored 11 points, tying Aaliyah Patty for the team high. Freshman guard Sydney Bowels went ahead with seven rebounds against the Aggies and Jones added six. Senior center Sydnee Roby led the charge on offensive boards with four.
A 13-3 run by the Aggies early in the first quarter helped A&M to an 11-point lead by the end of the frame. The Bobcats (3-2) stayed in the game in the second quarter, reducing the Aggies’ lead to just six points just before halftime.
The problem was a failure of effort, Taylor said.
“I don’t think we had the same energy,” she said. “We haven’t talked and we need to be more focused and firm.”
Bobcat leading scorer Da’Nasia Hood, coming into the game averaging 24.5 points per game, scored 10 points in the first half but only hit 4 for 15 from the field.
Coming out of the locker room fixated on defense, the Aggies held the Bobcats on just seven points on two field goals in the third quarter. Meanwhile, A&M’s long-range shooting shone, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-point range to give A&M a 51-28 lead.
The Bobcats defeated the Aggies 18-16 in the fourth quarter, but the A&M defense held Hood to two points in the second half, giving a 12-team strength for the game.
“She’s an elite player,” Taylor said. “Let me tell you, she plays really hard. She is a three-tier scorer. We spent a good part of our halftime talking about her being unwell.”
Taylor used several different lineups as the Aggies continued to prepare for the Southeastern Conference game, including a four-banker lineup throughout most of the second half. She also let Mya Petticord see her first action as Aggie after the true freshman missed the first four games of the season through injury.
A&M has seven games left before getting into the SEC game, which Taylor says will solidify her rotation.
“I have an idea of what I think the potential of some lineups might be,” she said.
A&M will host Rice at 2:00 p.m. Sunday at the Reed Arena.