COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Aggie bench propelled the Texas A&M women’s basketball team to Thursday evening’s 73-67 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks inside Reed Arena.
Paced by Solè Williams’ 11 points, the Maroon & White bench outscored the Razorbacks’ reserves 26-2. Williams was 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Sydney Bowles added nine points, including a free throw to ice the game with 12.7 seconds remaining. The bench played a key role in erasing a 14-point deficit early in the second half.
The Aggies needed a strong fourth quarter, nursing a one-point lead heading into the last stanza. Texas A&M (18-8, 6-7 SEC) outscored Arkansas (18-10, 6-7 SEC) out of the break, 10-4, to claim its largest margin of the game, 61-52, with 5:51 remaining.
The Razorbacks were relentless over the next three minutes, using a 13-3 surge to briefly nose ahead, 65-64, with 2:44 left. Sahara Jones hit a 10-footer to give Texas A&M the advantage, 66-65, at the 2:21 mark and the Maroon & White would not trail the rest of the game. Janiah Barker and Kay Kay Green layups stretched the gap to five points and Ol’ Sarge’s charges sank three free throws down the stretch.
Barker registered a career-high 15 rebounds in her eighth double-double of the season. She added 11 points, three rebounds and two steals.
Sahara Jones logged 11 points and seven rebounds, while Aicha Coulibaly stuffed the stats sheet with 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Kay Kay Green added seven points, three rebounds and a season-high five assists.
The Aggies matched a season-high with eight 3-point field goals and their 50.0% (8-of-16) from long range was a best for the campaign. Maroon & White dominated on the boards with a 45-32 rebounding margin.
Texas A&M was up 15-13 after a first quarter in which buckets were hard to come by. The Aggies hit 5-of-20 (25.0%) while Arkansas made 5-of-17 (29.4%). The Maroon & White’s biggest lead was 10-6 following an old-fashioned 3-point play by Aicha Coulibaly at the 3:27 mark. Arkansas responded with a 7-1 surge, staking claim to a 13-11 edge with 77 ticks left in the period. The Aggies closed out the quarter with a layup by Coulibaly and two free throws by Maliyah Johnson.
Texas A&M was outscored 17-5 in the second quarter, going without a field goal the 7:39 of the period. The Razorbacks carried a 30-20 lead into halftime.
Arkansas hit a couple 3-pointers early in the third quarter to inflate it cushion to 36-22. The Aggies responded with a 10-0 burst keyed by an old-fashioned 3-point play and a new wave trifecta by Barker, shaving the deficit to 36-34 at the 6:51 mark. The Maroon & White took the lead, 43-41, five minutes later when Williams nailed a jumper in the lane. The game see-sawed in the waning moments of the quarter before Williams beat the buzzer with a shot beyond the arc to put Texas A&M up 49-48 at the last intermission.
The Aggies will return to the hardwood on Sunday, Feb. 25 as they travel to Auburn for a 2 p.m. matchup.
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- Texas A&M is now 16-24 against Arkansas all-time.
- Joni Taylor’s career record advances to 167-104 all-time and to 27-28 in her two seasons with the Aggies.
- Four Aggies scored in double-digits for the 11th time this season (Barker – 16, Coulibaly – 11, Jones – 11, Williams – 10).
- Texas A&M out-rebounded Arkansas 45-32. The Maroon & White are now 14-1 when winning the rebounding battle by 10-or-more.
- The Aggies hit eight 3-pointers, tying for their most the season, on a season-best 50.0% shooting from behind the arc.
- Scored 29 points in the third quarter, the most the Aggies have scored in a quarter in SEC play and matched their largest scoring quarter of the season against North Texas on Nov. 12, 2023.
- Dominated the Razorbacks in scoring off the bench, putting up 26 points compared to only two from Arkansas. The 24-point margin is the Aggies largest this season.
- The Maroon & White overcame a 10-point deficit for the first time since a win versus Mississippi State on March 3, 2023.
- Held Arkansas to zero fast-break points. The Aggies are 2-0 this season when holding teams to no fast-break points.
- The Aggies are now 16-1 this season when leading after the first quarter.
- Texas A&M began with a starting lineup of Kay Kay Green, Aicha Coulibaly, Sahara Jones, Janiah Barker and Lauren Ware (1-2).
- Posted a team-high 16 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.
- Recorded her eighth double-double of the season.
Kay Kay Green
- Paced the team in assists in with five, tying her season high.
- Led the team in scoring off the bench with 11 points and hit three three-pointers.
- Matched her season-high in scoring with nine points off the bench.
Head Coach Joni Taylor
On the 3-point shooting tonight …
“It’s a possibility every night and sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not. I think what really helped us is when we came out in the third quarter and pushed the ball. You know, Janiah got it, pushed it, and made good decisions. She comes down in transition and makes the three. It just opens things up and it takes some pressure off us to have to manufacture points in the half court because of how everybody’s packed the paint. And when we’re knocking threes down, it opens things up.”
On her synopsis of the first half …
“We were taking a lot of jumpers and we only had 10 paint points. That’s not typical of us. And so, that’s our bread and butter when there’s penetration and kick or a high-low, or whatever it is. We weren’t doing the things that we needed to do to have success offensively. Now with that being said, we had 11 offensive rebounds, but we weren’t converting them. We only had six second chance points off of those 11 rebounds. So, I think we just had better shots in the third and fourth quarters, but our pace had a lot to do with that.”
Senior Guard Aicha Coulibaly
On what changed in the first and second halves …
“We were just trying to figure it out and talk to each other. We’re still working on the first and second quarters because they are not our best. But we just came out in the third quarter and punched them in the face. Like I said before, we have to start the game that way and punch other teams first. We have to build that momentum from our third and fourth quarters and take that to Auburn.”
Sophomore Guard Sydney Bowles
On the trust that the team and coaching staff has …
“First of all, I just wanna start off by thanking God. I mean, it’s been tough since we lost a couple of players. But the trust our coaches have in us and that my teammates have has stayed consistent through the ups and downs. We’ve been kind of inconsistent on the court, but the one thing that has stayed is the trust between the staff and players.”
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