ATHENS, Ga.--No. 20 Texas A&M (14-5, 4-1) was led by Freshman Courtney Walker with 12 points to lead to an upset of No. 12 Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens by a score of 64-46. The win was the first in Head Coach Gary Blair's career at Georgia.
Junior Kelsey Bone was plagued with foul trouble throughout the game and was limited to 25 minutes on the floor, but was still able to score 10 points and collect eight rebounds on the night. Freshman Courtney Williams was the only other player in double figures in the game with 10 points on 2-of-2 three point shooting. The stifling Aggie defense prevented any of the Georgia players from scoring in double figures.
The Aggies and Lady Bulldogs played to a 6-6 tie at the first media timeout, Texas A&M was 3-for-7 from the floor while holding Georgia to only 3-for-11 through the first six minutes of the game. The Aggie defensive pressure kept the Georgia offense off balance forcing them deep into the shot-clock on several of their early possessions.
Bone was impressive to begin the game scoring six points and pulling down four rebounds in the first ten minutes of play, before being called for her second foul of the game forcing her to the bench. The Aggies were called for four fouls in the first ten minutes of game against zero for the home team. Junior Karla Gilbert replaced Bone and had an impressive stretch with two points, five rebounds and two blocks to impact the game off the bench in eight minutes of play.
The Aggies took a then game-high 11 point lead with 5:15 left in the first half following a 20-4 run over ten minutes of game play. The run put the Aggies ahead 39-16 at the break, 16 points is the fewest points Georgia had scored in a first half in a game this season. The score may seem familiar to Aggie fans; the 2011 Sweet Sixteen game was 48-17 in favor of A&M at half.
At the break the Aggies were 15-for-29 from the floor and held the Lady Bulldogs to 7-for-31 shooting. Texas A&M outrebounded the home team by nine and kept Georgia from scoring a second chance point in the first 20 minutes. Senior Kristi Bellock led the game with eight rebounds in the opening frame.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the second half with inspired play out-rebounding the Aggies 7-to-1 in the first three minutes. Georgia attempted to make a comeback outscoring the Aggies 5-to-2 before a Bellock layup put the visitors ahead 43-21 with four minutes played in the second half.
Georgia continued the comeback attempt with increased defensive pressure cutting the Aggie lead to as little as 15 with just under seven minutes to play in the game following Georgia's first three-point basket of the night. Bone responded to score four straight points to end a 14-2 Lady Bulldog run, stretching the lead back out to 19 points in the Aggies favor.
Bellock had nine points and nine rebounds to lead the game on the boards. Walker added five rebounds to go with her game-high 12 points. Pratcher tallied six assists on the night to lead the game in that category.
For the game Texas A&M dished out 15 assists on their 26 made baskets, forced 13 Lady Bulldog turnovers to lead to 21 A&M points.
Georgia was led by Jasmine Howell with nine points and Shacobia Barbee led the Lady Bulldogs on the glass with eight rebounds.
Texas A&M will travel to Starkville, Miss for a reunion with Mississippi State Head Coach Vic Schaefer Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. Following a the trip to Mississippi State the Aggies return to Reed Arena on Sunday, Jan. 27 when they play host to Missouri at 2:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
On the impact of building a first-half lead...
"Once we got the lead we just tried to slow the game down and melt the clock because they never got in the game. What we were trying to do was score some easy baskets in the second half against their press."
On Texas A&M's defense...
"I think (Assistant) Coach (Bob) Starkey had a great game plan when you look at it. They shot 29 percent when we were asking for 35 percent. We identified the three-point shooters and when you don't hit them early sometimes you get a little gun shy and they had a couple of wide-open looks that they missed."
On the guard play...
"I thought it was a very good Memphis battle between the two point guards (Jasmine James & Adrienne Pratcher) and I think mine won this one. My other freshman Jordan Jones came in... They had 10 assists and zero turnovers on the road against the zone so I'm going to put a lot of cheeseburgers on their plates today. We won it with two very good, unheralded point guards. No one talks about my point guard play, but you win championships with point guards."
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
On today's game...
"The story of the game was those back-to-back three-pointers that they hit in the first half. That was it. They hit them almost back-to-back in such a short span, and that really hurt us."
On the offensive struggles of the team...
"Well, you certainly don't want it to happen, but there's no doubt that we struggled. I thought we got some reasonably good shots there at certain points, but then they just responded and knocked down three-pointers."
On the play of Erika Ford, Krista Donald and Shacobia Barbee...
"I thought they came in and gave really good minutes. They were rebounding the ball, and they did a great job defensively. Marjorie Butler also came in and ran the team well, and Shacobia just really played well for us all day. Krista Donald was good, too. She got rebounds and was able to get to the line throughout the game."