The Texas A&M women’s basketball team is off to good start with a record of 6-2. After a great NCAA tournament run last year, the Aggies were hoping to establish themselves as a force to reckoned with in the SEC and the women’s college basketball landscape as a whole. For the most part, they have been impressive against some of the mediocre competition they have faced early on in the 2018 season, but they did struggle against the only ranked team that they have played.
The Aggies defeated Rice, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Arkansas State, Houston and blew out Central Arkansas by a 57-point margin.
That’s a pretty good start for a Sweet 16-level team. However, what is troubling is that the Aggies lost to the two tougher opponents that they have faced this season. They dropped a game to Lamar University back on November 29, and then lost by double digits to No. 15 Syracuse a few weeks before. The issue is that if you want to be respected as a really good team come tournament, they need to beat some of the contenders along the way.
In fairness, the first loss to Lamar was self-inflicted because the Texas A&M Aggies’ leading scorer Chennedy Carter was suspended for one game due to “a violation of team attendance rules.” The biggest knock on this game is that Texas A&M should not have needed Carter to beat Lamar. This loss sets a bad tone going forward that the rest of Aggie women cannot hold it down in Carter’s absence with weaker teams.
The second loss that the Aggies had through the first window of the season was against the No. 15 Syracuse Orange. Although this game was on the road, Texas A&M played tough. The tale of this game is that they were beat on the glass — the Orange out-rebounded the Aggies 52-31. Texas A&M shot the ball okay, but they really didn’t have an answer for Syracuse guard Tiana Mangakahia who went for 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the game.
These are the types of games that head coach Gary Blair’s team needs to win down the stretch.
The good news is that the Aggies will have a great stretch coming up at home in Reed Arena to prove that they are for real. They will play UC Riverside on Friday, December 14, and then No. 8 Oregon State rolls into College Station on December 15. For the Aggies to be taken serious, they have to beat the best!