AUBURN, Ala.- Texas A&M won for the seventh time in eight SEC games, defeating Auburn 71-54 at Auburn Arena.
After allowing the first basket, Texas A&M (17-5, 7-1 SEC) scored the game’s next 14 points to take a 14-3 lead over the Tigers. The Aggies would lead 32-16 at halftime, marking the fifth time in eight SEC games the Aggies held their opponent to 20 or fewer points in the first half.
The Aggies received only a brief scare in the second half, as Auburn (11-10, 2-6 SEC) pulled within seven points with 13:43 remaining. However, A&M then went on an inspired 17-6 run to put the game out of reach of the Tigers.
Four Aggies reached double figures in scoring, led by Courtney Williams who had 17 points, to reach double figures in scoring for the fifth straight game.
Karla Gilbert scored 16 points with eight rebounds and three blocks. Her 3 blocks, gives her 42 on the season, which ranks seventh on Texas A&M’s single-season blocks list.
Tori Scott had 15 points, the second-highest total of her career, and the fourth time she has reached double figures this season.
Courtney Walker reached double figures for the seventh straight game, scoring 13 points.
Achiri Ade had 10 rebounds, reaching double figures in rebounds for the fifth time this year.
Jordan Jones had a career-high six steals and added six assists.
The Aggies head to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 2 in a game televised by FSN. A&M returns home to face LSU and BTHO Breast Cancer on Feb. 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
On tonight's game...
"This is the first time I played in your new facility. (It is a) Great facility and great crowd. We were very fortunate to be able to start the game well enough to take your students out of the game. Those students would have really been riled up if y'all would have been able to take the lead. I know what a student body crowd can do. You have a great venue for it here.
This is the most we have ever turned the ball over and won a ball game ever in our lives. We worked on it. You can work against the men's practice, and the second group, but you cannot simulate how well they played that third quarter defense, especially when they have (Hasina) Muhammad out front who has arms from here to the ceiling. You are only as good as your point guard plays, too many times our point guard didn't want the ball. Jordan Jones played a great first half and then she got frustrated. She got four fouls and a technical, she will learn.
I had to put a freshman out there. You don't make a living with a freshman on the road in the SEC. She hung in there and did some great things. Karla Gilbert is a senior and got inside. She knew what to do when she got the ball. Tori Scott, coming off the bench, is a junior she attacks and she scores. She did a great job. Auburn is going to get better and better. I know they lost four games, but we just came off a 21 point butt-kicking by Tennessee. We have got to get better. But I have four road wins in the SEC out of four tries. I am on house money for a while. These kids have done a great job playing well on the road. You had a good crowd in there and a great atmosphere."
On first half...
"When you play the defense they are playing, trying to trap you on the wings, that leaves you one-on-one inside. Unless you drop down Muhammad all the way down. We got too many good looks, when we finally did penetrate. We got one-on-one looks. Karla is supposed to finish. We tried to throw a couple home run passes to her. She is very good when she can make a single move. When she makes a double move she travels. That is why she got five turnovers. You have to learn to catch it and finish. Look at the game 46-26 in the paint, but a lot of those were layups coming off of the break. Instead of trying to set up our offense I said what the hell let them fly. It turned into a rec center game for both of us coaches. We probably both feel we lost control of the game. You just have to let players play through their mistakes and I had a little bit more of a seasoned team than Auburn has right now."
On bouncing back from a 21-point loss...
"It's huge because we are staying on the road. To be able first to take coaching and teach it. We are teachers first and coaches second. I was having to teach and coach more in this ball game than any win I have ever did in 10 years. We were making mistakes through your good play on the press. We were turning the ball over. I lost a little bit of control. I don't like to coach that way. I like for my point guards to take care of the situation and have a little bit of swag out there. But if you get your butt kicked by 21, Auburn knows what winning national championships is all about, and we know how to compete for one. We have three sophomore guards and three more guards coming off the bench. Karla Gilbert is the only senior that plays. And I think we have a shot. We do not have to play Tennessee and South Carolina again. We are going to take it one game at a time. We are fixing to play two very smart guards in Vanderbilt. We will have our hands full. But this is what the SEC is all about."
Senior Karla Gilbert
On first half...
"There was most definitely a focus going in. The coaches did a great job scouting the team. We saw a bunch of openings within that scouting. We were able to execute also on the play. And that is what led us to the win."