FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.-No. 22 Texas A&M raced out to an early 22-6 lead and cruised to a 63-51 road victory over No. 23 Arkansas Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
The Aggies (12-4, 2-0 SEC) were led by freshman Courtney Williams' career high 16 points and junior Kelsey Bone's double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds.
"It was good to be back and good to see a nice crowd out here to watch a top-25 matchup," said A&M coach Gary Blair, who coached 11 seasons in Fayetteville. "We were running what we wanted to early, and got the ball inside. But Arkansas did a very good job of taking away where we wanted to run the offense. Our point guards were getting pushed 25 to 30 feet from the basket, so it was hard to run sets. We got a lot of transition baskets in the second half, and that was the difference in the game because we struggled doing just about everything else. We're going to take this win."
The visiting Aggies started fast, forcing five turnovers before the first media timeout leading to five points and a 10-3 lead. Texas A&M continued the strong play into the next media timeout outscoring the Razorbacks 8-3 in that stretch. The Aggie defense continued to stifle the Razorbacks (12-3, 0-2) as they only made two of the first 13 shots they attempted, while the Aggies were 9-of-13 in the same stretch. Arkansas cut into the lead scoring four straight points, but freshman Courtney Williams responded with a jumper.
At the half the Aggies led 30-17 despite 13 turnovers. Texas A&M was able to outmuscle the Razorbacks out-rebounding the home team 17-12 in the first 20 minutes and leading Arkansas 14-8 in points in the paint.
The Aggies wasted little time out of the locker room to increase the lead to a game-high 18 points with two Bone free-throws and an Adrienne Pratcher old-fashioned three-point play to make the score 35-17 only a minute and half into the second half.
Arkansas used a 9-1 run over a three and a half minute stretch to cut the Aggie lead to eight, as the Aggies went five minutes between field goals during the run. The maroon and white responded with an 7-0 run of their own to take the lead back out to 15 with four points from Williams leading the charge.
The Razorbacks answered with a 9-0 run to cut the Aggie lead to six for the first time since the 16:26 mark in the first half. Williams once again stopped the Arkansas run with a jumper to put the Aggies up 45-37 with 8:11 remaining in the game. The Williams jumper ignited a 9-0 run for A&M, led by four points from freshman Courtney Walker. stretching the Aggie lead back out to 15 at 52-37 with 5:37 remaining in the game.
The Razorbacks had one more run in them to cut the Aggie lead to 10 one final time with less than two minutes left, but once again Williams answered with a basket to give her a career high 16 points on the day.
Pratcher finished the afternoon with 13 points and five boards, while Walker finished with 11.
Arkansas was led by Sarah Watkins' 19 points and eight rebounds.
The Aggies will travel to Lexington next for a matchup with No. 6 Kentucky on Thursday at 5 p.m. The game will mark the fifth against a top-10 opponent for the Aggies this season.