Aaliyah Wilson had 12 of her 15 points in the first half and the No. 10 Texas A&M women pulled away for a 77-59 win over previously unbeaten Abilene Christian on Sunday.
Wilson added four steals and three blocks for the Aggies (6-0). N’dea Jones had 10 points and 14 rebounds, Alexis Morris scored 14 points and Jordan Nixon had 11.
Texas A&M closed the first quarter with 10 straight points and added a 14-0 run in the second quarter to build a 37-16 lead with 4:17 left in the period. The Wildcats got the deficit no closer than 17 from there.
“We were really ready to play,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. “I thought our kids did a very good job defensively in the first half.”
Anna McLeod made 4 of 8 from 3-point range and finished with 18 points for the Wildcats (5-1). Kamryn Mraz added 10 points for Abilene Christian.
The Aggies were 5 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half while the Wildcats were 6 of 25 (24.0%) from the arc and 7 of 31 (22.6%) from the field.
“We rushed some shots early,” Abilene Christian coach Julie Goodenough said. “We found ourselves wide open, we were shot-ready but just rushed shots. We generally shoot the ball a little bit better from the 3-point line.”
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Nixon explained the Aggies success from the arc on both sides of the court: “It starts with ball movement on the offensive end. Making the extra pass was actually one of our game goals. As far as applying pressure … they’re a great team, especially behind the arc, we just wanted to make it a little uncomfortable for them, make them think about it a little bit more, and I think it showed in the percentages.”
Abilene Christian: The Wildcats entered the game averaging 92 points per game but had not yet faced a defense as formidable as Texas A&M’s. After falling behind big in the first half, they outscored the Aggies 37-34 after the break, a learning experience to build on with three non-conference games scheduled before heading into the Southland Conference schedule.
Texas A&M: The Aggies stayed within themselves, relying on their length and speed to prevent Abilene Christian from getting settled in its offense. Texas A&M already has two non-conference Top 25 wins and will host three more games before beginning the SEC season.
“Give Abilene a lot of credit,” Blair said, “because this is a team that will compete to win it in their league if they can keep everyone healthy. I like what coach Goodenough is doing.”
And Goodenough had praise for Texas A&M, especially the post players: “Ciera (Johnson) and N’dea (Jones), I mean they’re playing in the WNBA if that’s the path they want to take. … We aren’t going to face post players again, like that, unless we make it to the NCAA Tournament again.”
Abilene Christian hosts Texas-Tyler on Tuesday.
Texas A&M hosts Sam Houston State on Tuesday.