COLLEGE STATION-No. 20 Texas A&M (13-5, 3-1) got 19 points from player of the year candidate Kelsey Bone and placed three others in double figures as the Aggies rolled past Auburn 78-56 for their ninth straight home win before 5,836 fans on Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena.
A&M kept pace with No. 12 Georgia for second place in the SEC, setting up a showdown in Athens next weekend. The Tigers (13-4, 2-2), meanwhile, lost for only the second time in their last 12 contests.
Bone added 10 rebounds, marking her fifth straight double-double. Over that five-game span, the junior from Houston is averaging 20.2 points and 13.4 rebounds.
Senior Kristi Bellock recorded a double-double for the third time in the last four contests, scoring 13 points and adding 10 boards, while freshman guard Courtney Walker scored 10 of her 16 points in the second half.
"Bone had to go up against a lot of size in there and she missed a few that she's been making, but if you look at the numbers she's having that magical year for us and her partner Bellock is just solid as can be," Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair said following the victory.
The Aggies came out of the gate strong, racing out to a 16-4 lead in the game's first seven minutes. Intense defensive pressure kept Auburn to just 2-of-11 from the floor in the stretch, with Adrienne Pratcher and Kelsey Bone-who scored the first two buckets of the afternoon-teaming up for 14 of those points.
"I think we played a perfect first half," Blair added. "We really did some things well. Their press didn't bother us. We were shooting layups. This is the third game in a row that we have shot well over fifty percent in the first half."
A&M would take its largest lead as it headed into the locker room, leading Auburn 43-23 at the break. The Aggies took the lead in large part to a strong team offensive effort that saw them record 14 assists on 17 made buckets. Bone, who scored 10 and grabbed 6 boards in the first 20 minutes, also lead the team at the half with a game-high 4 assists.
Following a Bellock jumper to start the second half, the Tigers would put together their most sustained run of the game-rattling off eight straight points to climb within 14 just three minutes into the half. They would, however, get no closer on the afternoon, as A&M's lead would grow to as many as 30.
Pratcher rounded out a solid evening with 11 points, hitting 3-of-4 from behind the arc, and a team-high 5 assists.
Auburn was led by guard Hasina Muhammad's 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Texas A&M now embarks on a two-game road trip, which gets underway next Sunday at No. 12 Georgia (4 p.m. ESPN2). Following a trip to Mississippi State the Aggies return to Reed Arena on Sunday, Jan. 27 when they play host to Missouri (2:30 p.m., ESPNU).