Los Angeles, Calif. – Texas A&M used a strong second-half surge to put away USC Saturday, 79-61.
Kristi Bellock and Kelsey Bone each had 15 points for the Aggies, with Bellock adding 10 rebounds. Cassie Harberts put up 19 and Ariya Crook 15 for the Trojans. The win was TAMU’s sixth straight, as USC fell to 3-5.
The two teams kept it close in the first half, which saw five lead changes and four ties. A 4-0 surge by TAMU put them up 33-30 at the break. The Aggies began the second half continuing that run, whic pushed their lead to 21 at the midway mark and 25 with four minutes left. They ended up shooting 57.1 percent for the period to USC’s 32.3.
TAMU Coach Gary Blair said his team was able to settle down in the second half, as well as make adjustments.
“I think we were too impatient on our offense,” Blair said. “What hurt us was their rebounding in the first half – they were up seven on us at half. My two and three and one had two rebounds between the three of them. Defensively in the second half we played better in the second half except the last five minutes, when I emptied my bench against his first group.”
Blair said the Aggies were able to take advantage of the Trojan’s miscues.
“We were lucky that they’re not very good on transition defense, because it gave us a lot of easy baskets in the second half,” Blair said. “Bone finally settled down and played a little better. Kristi Bellock and (Courtney) Walker kept us in the game and they did an exceptional job. They played hard and they played smart.”
Of course, Blair was pleased with the game outcome.
“Any win on the road is a beautiful win,” he said.
TAMU is “a work in progress,” according to Blair, because of the unique constitution of the roster: seven freshmen, and upperclasswomen who have played less during their careers due to injury.
“I have to coach over here more than I want, because I want my point guards to do that,” Blair said. “In today’s society, many times kids run away from leadership. When you’re at Texas A&M, A&M was built on leadership, and you’ve got to have kids who want that voice out there on the court. I don’t like hollering and screaming like I had to today, but sometimes you’ve got to crack the whip.”
“We’re going to be allright – we’re going to find a way.”
TAMU next faces Kansas State, while USC will take on Duke in the Troy Basketball Classic.
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