ROME, Italy - The Texas A&M women's basketball team began action on its summer tour of Italy with a hard-fought, 61-57 loss to All-Star Italy on Sunday evening.
In a tight game that all 14 players saw action, the Aggies never trailed by more than 8 points during the contest. A&M got within one, 56-57 with a minute and a half to play, before Italy capitalized on late free throws to the hang on for the win.
"As a team, we didn't play very well," Aggie head coach Gary Blair said. "We started off pretty well, but we were not used to guarding a 5-out offense. This was a veteran all-star team we were playing and I thought they played better than us and harder than us. This was a team-wide loss. I'm disappointed because I want to win every game possible, but our young team will learn from this experience."
The maroon and white came out of the halftime break with an 8-0 run, courtesy of 8 straight points by Bone. The Aggies took their only lead of the second half, 32-30, with 8:03 to play. Italy, however, answered with a couple of quick buckets by C. Pantani to regain the lead and held an 8-point advantage going into the final 10 minutes.
The Aggies outscored Italy, 19-15 in the fourth period. Their late surge was led by junior Karla Gilbert's 7 points. Her conversion of a 3-point play brought A&M within three with 3 minutes to play. The Aggies forced a turnover and a layup by senior Kristi Bellock moved the Aggies within one.
A&M was down 22-18 after one period and trailed 30-24 at the half.
Texas A&M was led by junior Kelsey Bone with 16 points and nine rebounds. Bellock added 8 points, seven rebounds and four steals, while Gilbert scored 7.
Sophomore Tori Scott and freshman Courtney Williams had 6 points, while Scott also added seven rebounds and two assists.
For All-Star Italy, M. Micovic had a game-high 19 points and Pantani added 13.
Texas A&M is scheduled to play All-Star Italy again on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in Florence. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. CT). Scoring updates will be provided on Twitter at @Aggie_W_Hoops.