COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jordan Jones scored 19 points, gathered 10 rebounds and had 10 assists, posting the third triple double in A&M history, as No. 17 Texas A&M had little trouble with Arkansas, running away to a 77-54 win on Thursday.
Jones joins Danielle Adams (2010) and Toccara Williams (2002) as the only Aggies to record triple doubles. Jones is the 18th player nationally with a triple double in 2013-14, and the second in the SEC this year.
Jones' 19 points and 10 rebounds were both career highs.
Texas A&M (22-7, 12-3 SEC) scored the first 13 points of the game, including a 3-pointer by Jones, en route to a 43-32 lead at the break.
The Aggies poured in on in the second half. A 12-0 run -- Courtney Williams and Courtney Walker had four points apiece in the run -- pushed the lead to 61-38 and Texas A&M cruised home from that point.
Williams finished with 18 points and eight rebounds while Walker had 10 points. The Aggies shot 59 percent from the floor.
Arkansas (18-10, 5-10 SEC) was led by Jhasmin Bowne with 11 points and 6 boards while Calli Berna added 10 points. Arkansas made just 4 of 20 beyond the arc.
The Aggies finish the regular season 13-2 at home, and are 15-3 overall since Dec. 28. The game was the final regular season game at home for Karla Gilbert, Kristen Grant and Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar.
The Aggies can match the best conference record in school history, set in 2006-07 and 2010-11, with a win at Florida on Sunday. Tip is at 12 p.m. and broadcast on CSS/CST.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“Give a lot of credit to Starky. His defense was outstanding in this game. We decided to go with a small line-up and start a 5’8 kid on a 6’3 kid, and it worked. Tori Scott shut her out. They didn’t score on Tori Scott. Sometimes you change things up, you go with a little speed, so give my assistants a lot of credit for going with that strategy. I was proud of my seniors. I think they all played well. This game meant a whole lot to them. I hope it meant a lot to the fans to understand what senior year is all about. Whether you’re a student athlete, a high school senior, or an Aggie getting your ring, it’s special being a Senior and playing in front of your family and friends.”
On Jordan Jones…
“We had to have a few meetings with our team this year on getting them up from the Kentucky game, and getting over the drama girls have over the season. We had to do a little bit of soul searching, but this team goes as Jordan Jones goes. She’s your leader, she’s your captain, and she has to be your catalyst. She distributed the ball. She recognized what they were in. They kept saying, Jordan looked like she was dead tired, but all of a sudden at half she had seven rebounds. I said ‘Hey, we don’t have a chance too many times. You can rest tomorrow. So I put her on the free throw line, when she had 9 rebounds. They missed the shot, and she got in there to get that rebound. That was just very special for the young lady.”
On quick, first half start…
“It was everybody scoring within the offense, instead of shooting those wild shots. This was a team we could do it against, because they didn’t have the inside players.
On refusing to lose this year’s Senior Night game…
“We had the pictures of the four seniors from last year up on our board today, along with our three seniors here. Like I said sometimes, you have to have a few heart to heart talks. Your leaders, your captains- Karla, Jordan and Kristen- have to take charge of the basketball team. You have to have leadership from within, and I’m not from within. ‘Within’ means the team. We had leadership tonight. “
Texas A&M Player Jordan Jones
On her performance…
“Just before the game, we knew coming into this game, we were playing for our seniors. Last year, our four senior, Adrienne, Kristi, Kelsey and Cierra, didn’t go out the way they wanted. We lost to LSU. The look on their faces wasn’t a good feeling for anybody in the locker room. We felt like we let them down. Coming into this game, Coach had that “over my dead body” mentality. I felt like that performance, I owed it them. It wasn’t anything special on my part. It was what they deserved. It’s just up to us to give it back to them. I just thank them for everything that they’ve done. I feel like this was a special victory for them and hopefully we can build off of this going into the SEC Tournament and Florida.”
On what was working for her this game…
“Just confidence. I just felt like I had to be aggressive. My coaches tell me that I’m too passive, and it hurts the team more than anything. So I just stayed in extra in the gym and put up more shots. It was up to me to relax and knock down the shots. Ultimately, that’s what I did, and it started opening up the hole more for Karla, Achiri, Tavarsha and Rachel. It was just a good team win.”
“No, I didn’t [know where I stood with the triple-doubles]. But of course, Coach Blair came up to the bench and said ‘Give me two more rebounds so I can pull you out. You can have a triple double.’ So then after that, I was telling everybody ‘Get out the way, I’ll get it. Get out the way, I got it, I got it!’”
On heading into last regular season game…
”We feel really good. Coming off the loss of Kentucky, it was just not a good atmosphere walking into the locker room or the coach’s office. We had a couple good games at practice, and this was an amazing confidence booster game for everybody. So going to Florida, we know we’re going to have a tough match-up. We know we have our hands full, but with a win like this, going to a good opponent’s house, we should pull it out.”
Texas A&M Player Karla Gilbert
On her emotions after this Senior Night game …
“I’m happy for our team. They came out there and they showed up and showed out, especially our guards. I’m just happy we were able to end at home for the last regular game of the season with a good ‘W’.”
On the first half…
“Like you said, we knocked down our shots. Not only were they layups, they were jumpers. Just coming out there and knocking those shots down, we set the tempo. We were already ready to run up and get them on their heels and make them move quicker because they like to play more of a half-court game. I think that did a great job of opening it up for us.”
On bouncing back from the Kentucky loss…
“Just moving forward from here. We can’t really look back. We just need to build on that, stay focused and know what our goal is.”
Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collen
“We are obviously disappointed with the way we played. I don’t think we gave A&M a very good game and that’s the most frustrating thing for me. Its senior night, I thought they stepped up and played really well. I think Gary probably saw our zone defense coming. We don’t play a lot of zone but we felt like it was the right thing to do against them. Obviously he inserted another shooter into the line up so he saw that coming. They obviously had worked on it. I know they have seen a lot of zone this year. They were really well prepared for that. On top of that, they hit every shot that they took. When you get behind like we did its just really hard to come back in this kind of venue against this kind of team.”
On playing from behind
“I thought they fought back. They went into the locker room scoring 32 points, which is actually not that bad for us. The disappointing number was that they had 43 points. We come into this leading the conference in defense. I think as the game went on, when you are playing with a with a 15-20 point lead, you’re playing pretty relaxed and you keep making shots. I felt like our team played hard until the very end, not well, but they played hard to the end and didn’t quit.”
On Jessica Jackson
“They did a good job of guarding her. I don’t think they guarded her nearly as aggressively as I thought they were going to. They started a small guard on her. Clearly the game plan for us was not complicated. It was send Jessica Jackson to the low block and pop Karla Gilbert to the outside. The whole game plan was post up on their small and score against them, shooting 15 footers against Gilbert and making them. But we didn’t make any 15 footers and Jess didn’t score on the low block. So 75% of the game plan went right out the window. Hopefully those kids will learn from it. Really the way they were playing Jess, she should have scored 20 points.”
On Jordan Jones
“She played out of her mind. Its not that I think she can’t play well, she has played well. But going back if you look at the statistics, one of the reasons we went zone is that they don’t shoot the three very well. The only one who has shot it well during the season is Jones, but she came into this game shooting less than 20%. She was a difference maker against our game plan.”