COLLEGE STATION--The Texas A&M women's basketball team picked up its first win of the young season, beating the Liberty Flames 70-55 Tuesday night at Reed Arena in front of 4,019 fans.
Freshman Courtney Walker led the Aggies in scoring with 20 points, three assists and two rebounds. Walker had 20 points for the second consecutive game, the first freshman to do so since Gary Blair arrived at Texas A&M. Walker is one of only six players in the SEC to have multiple 20-point outings. Coming into the game Walker was leading the SEC in minutes per game at over 37, she played 34 against Liberty. Two other Aggies scored in double figures, Kelsey Bone and Adrienne Pratcher had 12 points apiece.
"She always plays the game hard," head coach Gary Blair said. "Now what she shot in the last two games has been great because she's got a midrange game. Most kids don't have a midrange game. They can either shoot the three or drive the lane. But she's got the midrange game and that's why I think we can get her a lot of shots in our offense."
The Aggies opened the game on a six point run, making their first three shots. The Flames answered with a 10 point run of their own forcing three Aggie misses and a turnover during the run. The maroon and white outscored Liberty 13-8 over the final eight minutes of the first half to take a 30-26 lead to the break.
The Aggies used a starting lineup of Courtney Williams, Bone, Kristi Bellock, Pratcher and Walker for the first time this season. Two freshmen were in the starting lineup for the first time on the young season. Yet another freshman, Chelsea Jennings, entered the game early and provided a spark with two points and four rebounds in only nine minutes of play. In the opening 20 minutes the Aggies were 14-of-35 from the floor for 40%, assisting on nine of their 14 made field goals.
Liberty Flame Devon Brown had her per game average in points at half with 15 points. Brown made six of her first seven shots in the game including one three-pointer and two free throws. Sophomore Tori Scott entered the game in the second half and helped slow Brown to only eight points in 17 minutes of play. For the game Brown led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. "She came in and hit her first shot and was involved both offensively and defensively. She can create havoc out there" Blair said about Scott.
Scott did not start the game for the first time this season, but was very effective starting the second half making her first two field goal attempts, including one three pointer. Despite not starting Scott scored a season high seven points and three assists. Scott's play led Texas A&M to a 15-to-5 bench points over the final 20 minutes.
The second half started fast for the Aggies beginning with a 13-4 run over the first five minutes of play. Texas A&M's defensive intensity picked up forcing 12 Flames turnovers adding 16 points off turnovers. The Aggies held the Flames to 9-of-23 shooting in the second half and 2-of-7 from the three point line.
The Aggies return to Reed Arena Friday to play in the A&M Classic at 7 p.m. against Southern. There will be a twitter contest for a signed jersey at the game.
Texas A&M Women's Basketball
Texas A&M 70 - Liberty 55
Nov. 20, 2012 ● Reed Arena
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
● Texas A&M improved to 1-3 on the season while Liberty fell to 2-2.
● Tuesday's game was the second meeting of the two schools, with the win the Aggies improved to 2-0 all-time against Liberty.
● The Aggies outrebounded the Flames, 35-30.
● The maroon and white collected 17 offensive rebounds, scoring ten second chance points on the day.
● Texas A&M was 32-64 for 50% shooting from the floor, making three of 13 3-point attempts.
●The Aggies made 11 steals on the night, and outscored the Flames 29-8 on points off turnovers.
● A&M made it to the free-throw line 11 times on the night and made 3 for a season low 27.3 % from the free-throw line.
● Freshman Courtney Walker matched her season/career high in points (20). Walker is one of only six players in the SEC to have 20-point games so far this year.
● Walker was 9-for-13 from the floor for a season/career high 69.2% shooting, including her first three-pointer.
● Junior Kelsey Bone had another double-digit scoring night with 12 points, Bone has scored double-digits three of the four games this year.
● Sophomore Tori Scott did not start for the first time this year, but did have season highs in points (7) and assists (3).
FIRST HALF NOTES
● Texas A&M led 30-26 after 20 minutes of play ... each team's largest lead was six points. The lead changed 10 times.
● A&M forced 10 turnovers in the first half and resulting in 13 points.
● Kelsey Bone led the Aggies with 8 points at the break. Devon Brown of Liberty had 15 points in the first half.
SECOND HALF NOTES
● The Aggies started quick scoring the first six points of the second half leading contributing to a 13 point Aggie lead six minutes into the second half. Texas A&M's largest lead was 17 with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
● Each team collected 16 rebounds in the second half. Texas A&M assisted on 12 of its 18 field goals in the period, shooting 18-of-29 over the final 20 minutes.
● Courtney Walker scored 13 points in the second half, she was 6-for-8 from the floor.
● The Aggies host the Southern Jaguars at 7:00 pm on Friday.
● Liberty will travel to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears at 7:00 pm on Friday.