Even though No. 15 Texas A&M was missing its biggest star, it was Missouri women’s basketball that struggled with depth Sunday.
Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M’s would-be SEC Player of the Year contender, was excluded from the Aggies’ lineup for the fourth straight game due to a sprained ankle. But the Tigers were still outmatched, not leading even once in a 72-53 loss in College Station, Texas.
Seeking a landmark road victory against a weakened yet powerful opponent, Missouri (5-15, 2-5) could not match Texas A&M’s scoring or inside presence as it fell for the fourth time in five games.
With coach Gary Blair going for the 400th victory in his 17-year tenure at Texas A&M (17-3, 5-2), the Aggies grabbed hold of the contest early. A quick four points in the opening 39 seconds led to a Missouri timeout, and the difference grew to 17-4 before the Tigers could even fight back.
An 8-0 run, punctuated by 3-pointers from Jordan Chavis and Hayley Frank, brought the visitors within five at the end of the first quarter. Chavis and Frank scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, on the afternoon, but it was the Tigers’ lack of other offensive options that kept them from staying in range of the Aggies.
Aijha Blackwell’s 18 points paced Missouri and equaled A&M’s Kayla Wells as the game-high mark, but the star freshman fouled out late in the fourth quarter. Only six Tigers managed to find the basket, with Blackwell, Chavis, Frank and Amber Smith being the only ones to score more than two points.
By contrast, Texas A&M enjoyed a bevy of contributions despite the absence of Carter. All 10 Aggies who took the court scored, including four who reached double figures.
Texas A&M’s prowess in the paint keyed it to victory as well. Led by N’Dea Jones’ 13 boards, the Aggies outrebounded the Tigers 40-31 and outscored them 28-12 in the paint.
Missouri trailed 33-22 at halftime but kept pace with Texas A&M for the first six minutes of the third quarter. It was then that the Aggies pulled away, ending the period on an 11-0 run that made it 55-33.
The loss kept Missouri mired near the bottom of the SEC standings, leaving it in a four-way tie with Alabama, Vanderbilt and Florida for ninth place in the conference. With nine regular-season games left, the Tigers have yet to face any of the Crimson Tide, Commodores or Gators.
The Tigers will seek to climb up from the conference’s bottom four places in order to earn a first-round bye in March’s SEC Tournament.
The defeat in College Station was the first of three games in a row for the Tigers against teams ranked in last week’s AP Top 25. No. 12 Kentucky visits Mizzou Arena on Thursday, followed by No. 21 Arkansas on Sunday.