A&M Downs ODU, Moves into Title Game
It was the eight consecutive win for the Aggies (8-3), who will face No. 5 Notre Dame in the title game Friday at 7:30 p.m. (CT). The Fighting Irish defeated Kansas State, 85-57, earlier today to advance. It will mark the first meeting between A&M and Notre Dame since the Aggies' historic 76-70 victory over the Fighting Irish in the 2011 NCAA National Championship game.
While Bone was scoring on the inside and also grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds, senior point guard Adrienne Pratcher also had an all-around stellar performance, leading Bones' charge by dishing out a career-high 12 assists on the offensive end and spearheading the defensive pressure which resulted in 23 Old Dominion turnovers, equaling the second most turnovers by an A&M opponent this season.
Senior guard Kristi Bellock added 12 points and eight rebounds in the winning effort, and freshman guard Peyton Little scored 10 points off the bench.
Shae Kelley led Old Dominion with 11 points and seven rebounds as the Lady Monarchs drop to 7-2.
In the first-ever meeting between the two teams, Bone jumpstarted the Aggies by scoring nine of the team's first 12 points. A&M used a 10-0 run to build a 20-11 lead with 12:05 remaining in the first half, but the Lady Monarchs would make a run of their own, getting within 23-22 at the 5:47 mark. It would be the closest Old Dominion would get as Bone hit a jumper in the paint, and Little made two baskets from the outside for five points to return an 8-point margin to the Aggies, 30-22, with 3:19 left.
Despite being outshot, 46.2 percent to 39 percent, the Aggies carried the 8-point lead into the intermission as Bone finished the half with 15 points to help A&M to a 36-28 advantage.
Old Dominion scored the first bucket in the second half, but the Aggies quickly mounted a 12-0 run to pull ahead, 48-30. The Lady Monarchs fought back once again, getting within five points at 54-49 with 8:22 remaining, but they could get no closer. A&M countered with an 8-0 run and continued to pull away, building its largest lead of the game at 76-53 with 1:26 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Courtney Williams.
Audio of the championship game can be heard on AggieAthletics.com or KZNE 1150 with Mike Wright and Steve Miller calling the action.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair:
(on the team's play in the second half)
We make adjustments at halftime. We make a little bit of a run right before half time -- we've had an 8-point lead two games in a row -- and then they came out and made a run at us. Old Dominion can do it because when you look at it, we only turned it over only 13 times, but it sure seemed like it was more. They had 23 turnovers, but at the same time, it was a hard-fought ball game. We decided we can get the ball inside. We can do the little things right, and they couldn't stop Kelsey Bone.
(On Adrienne Pratcher)
We did a lot of good things on the defensive end, and Adrienne Pratcher did a great job of running this ball club. She ended up with 12 assists. I'm sure that is a career high, and she was going against one of the best defensive guards we have played against all year. Give that kid a little bit of credit. It is not what she scored, but 12 assists. She knew how to get it home to (Kelsey Bone).
Pratcher was missing shots. She just said, 'keep letting me getting the assists. We don't need any more threes, just run my offense,' so I thought Pratcher did a heck of a job.
(On Peyton Little)
Peyton is a great street shooter. She can find the open person. That pass that she made to start the second half was the exact call that we set up. That is what we had to have, so she is learning to be a complete player. We can start the game with defense, and we can bring the offense off the bench with Little. I think we've got a good combination going.
Peyton Little gave us some three pointers we had to have in the first half. She is just a kid, people forget about her because we are slashing and cutting.
(On the team's inside play)
I thought our inside players again were very good. I thought Bellock and Bone worked well together. Courtney Williams gave us some good minutes at the end, but for my H-Town girl (Kelsey Bone), she brought it home to Houston, split the defense, played within herself very well. We are definitely going to need the same thing.
(On the team's defensive play)
Defense, we had a good game play. They made a couple of runs because their little defensive point guard (Ashley Betz-White) was in our shorts the whole ball game, and I think she is one of the best we have played against. It's not what she scores, but what she does for her team, and she sets the tempo. Eventually we just wore them down, and that is all you can do. If you keep scoring inside on a zone or man, we were doing very well in there tonight.
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
● Texas A&M wins its eighth consecutive game to improve to 8-3.
● Old Dominion suffers only its second loss and falls to 7-2
● This was the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
● Texas A&M forced 23 turnovers, equaling the second most by an A&M opponent this season.
● A&M, which committed 13 turnovers, outscored Old Dominion, 26-10, off turnovers.
● Texas A&M outshot Old Dominion, 44.4 percent to 42.6 percent from the field.
● A&M out-rebounded Old Dominion, 40-33. It was the eighth straight game A&M has led its opponent in rebounds
● A&M has won each of its last eight contests by 18 points or more and by a combined average of 24.5 points per game
● The Aggies' largest lead was 23 (76-53) with 1:26 remaining in the second half.
● A&M led in rebounds, 40-33.
● A&M led 20-8 in fast breaks.
● A&M's 72 shots attempts are a season high.
● A&M starters were Kristi Bellock, Kelsey Bone, Tori Scott, Adrienne Pratcher and Courtney Walker
● Bone posted her third double-double of the year (33 points, 14 rebounds) and scored more than 20 points for the third time this season and for the third time in the last four games.
● Bone was 15-of-18 from the field. Her 33 points, 15 field goals and 18 attempts are all career highs and team season highs.
● Senior guard Adrienne Pratcher had a career-high 12 assists, the most by an A&M player this season.
●Freshman guard Peyton Little had a career-high four rebounds and played in a career-high 24 minutes. It was the second consecutive game she had a career high in rebounds.
FIRST HALF NOTES
● Texas A&M led 36-28 after 20 minutes of play.
● The Aggies went on a 10-0 run over a 3:16 minute span to build their largest lead at 20-11, with 11:41 on the clock. ODU's largest lead was two points in the first two minutes of the game.
● Kelsey Bone scored nine of A&M's first 12 points in the game and led all players with 15 points at the half, connecting on 7-of-8 attempts.
● A&M shot 39.0 percent in the half. Old Dominion shot 46.2 percent and was led by Jackie Cook's eight points.
● Bone had six rebounds and Kristi Bellock added five as A&M outrebounded the Lady Monarchs, 22-18.
● A&M scored 10 points off of 14 ODU turnovers. ODU scored six points on eight A&M turnovers.
SECOND HALF NOTES
● Texas A&M outscored Old Dominion 42-27 during the second half.
● A&M shot 51.6 percent from the floor in the second half, connecting on 16 of 31 attempts.
● The Aggies advance to the championship game and face No. 5/5 Notre Dame tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. (CT)
● Old Dominion plays host UNLV for third place.