GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Gary Blair expected a letdown when his 2nd-ranked Aggies opened the SEC Tournament after a hit their first fashioned-season league title Sunday.
He also expected his deep, talented community to play their manner out of it.
Kayla Wells had 16 points whereas Alexis Morris added 13 off the bench as Texas A&M pulled away to beat LSU 77-58 on Friday.
It changed into the first sport since the Aggies (23-1) beat No. 7 South Carolina 66-57 and lower down the nets in celebration of the title. Blair knew it’d be a bumpy open against LSU.
“We expected a letdown,” Blair said. “However we did no longer dismay.”
As an alternative, Blair referred to as on his bench, significantly Rutgers transfer Morris to possess a working margin and reach to the tournament semifinals for the fourth time within the previous five years. They’ll play No. 16 Georgia, which topped Kentucky 78-66 later Friday.
Facing LSU (9-13) to open tournament play had to be a frightening prospect for Texas A&M. Its simplest loss this season came to the Tigers 65-61 in overtime in January. LSU also restricted the Aggies to their lowest level total of the season in spite of shedding 54-41 within the rematch last month.
“It took us a short time to catch going,” Aggies forward Ciera Johnson said. “Then we did what we wanted to create.”
That took station superb sooner than halftime as Wells and Morris leap-started the offense to put away the Tigers.
Main 24-22 with 1: 54 left within the 2nd quarter, Wells and Morris had four points apiece for a 32-26 Aggies edge on the fracture.
Wells and Morris had been at it but again within the third duration. Wells had five points and Morris seven as the Aggies pushed the margin to 49-38.
The 5-foot-6 Morris changed into a stout motive why and Johnson said her teammate introduced vitality to the lineup at a severe time. “That’s what she does,” Johnson said. “So we wanted every body of her points today. We no doubt wanted that enhance off the bench.”
LSU would possibly perchance well perchance also no longer retort and failed to reach previous the quarterfinals for the sixth straight season.
“I thought our defense if truth be told failed us today,” LSU coach Nikki Fargas said.
Khayla Pointer had 26 points to lead the Tigers.
LSU’s defense gave Texas A&M suits for far of the first two quarters. The Aggies had a 1-of-10 stretch capturing and regarded out of rhythm.
The Aggies relied on aggressive defense and offense to create difficulty to LSU. They restricted the Tigers to valid 10-of-36 capturing (28%) the first 20 minutes and successfully received the line when their photos wouldn’t fall, making 9 of 10 free throws.
Morris had an influence for Texas A&M as leading scorer Aaliyah Wilson done with valid two points. Wilson had a occupation-high 15 rebounds, though.
Johnson, Jordan Nixon and N’dea Jones had 12 points each for the Aggies.
THE BIG PICTURE
LSU: The Tigers struggled down the stretch, going 0-5 with two cancelations in February sooner than defeating Mississippi Speak in Thursday’s 2nd-spherical matchup. LSU has no longer made the NCAA Tournament since 2017.
Texas A&M: Getting previous their nemesis this season in LSU would possibly perchance well perchance also merely hang the Aggies with self belief going forward as they are making an try to lock up their 2nd-ever SEC Tournament. This sport would possibly perchance well perchance also merely also catch Blair to derive more minutes for Morris, a sparkplug on this victory.
Texas A&M enjoyed the success of an SEC championship. Then rapidly refocused on gaining one more on the league tournament. “We knew that after Sunday,” she said. “We’ve received to circulation on.”
Aggies coach Gary Blair believes LSU, in spite of its 9-13 season, is deserving of an NCAA Tournament expose. He said they carried out their simplest sport of the yr in defeating Mississippi Speak right here Thursday and feature a superstar in Khayla Pointer. Tigers coach Fargas said agreed her team deserved consideration for finishing eighth within the spirited SEC.
With a shedding listing, LSU’s season is likely over.
Texas A&M will play No. 16 Georgia within the SEC Tournament semis Saturday.
Extra AP ladies folk’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-faculty-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25