What’s remarkable about the Texas Aggie women’s basketball victory over Auburn in the 86-54, in front of 5,232 SEC tournament fans at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia on March 8, 2014 was that about 350 of those fans were there from College Station, Texas, and the family homes of some of the players.
Yet, the entire 12th Man spirit was felt by the team, who played their best game of the season to date vs. the Auburn Lady Tigers. Special Aggie thanks are due to the ever faithful Hullabaloo band (directed by Chris Hollar), the Texas Aggie Dance Team, and Aggie yell leaders Chris Powell and Patrick McGinty. Representing Texas A&M University were Athletic Director Eric Hyman and his wife, Pauline, and Marcy Girton, Athetic Department, Chief of Staff who journeyed to Duluth to support the Aggie women’s team. On the Aggie radio network were Mike Wright and Steve Miller, who brought that “home” to Georgia for the Aggies and their fans.
Now, those close to 5,000 others in attendance wore so much orange that it was blinding. Those in orange backed Pat, they backed Holly Warlick, and they backed Tennessee Lady Volunteers’ basketball. The “sea o’ orange” was there to see the team who’d be facing their own, after Tennessee beat LSU earlier in the day to get to Saturday’s semifinal contest.
If you look at just the box scores from the Aggies vs. Auburn contest, really all you see is just a bunch of numbers that tell you that the Aggies had the usual strong shooting of Courtney J. Walker (25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists), Courtney Williams (12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist), Karla Gilbert (15 points, 7 rebounds), and the deft, demonstrative leadership of Jordan Jones (6 points, 2 rebounds, and 11 assists) on point. But 13 Aggie players were on that court, contributing time, points, and “team” to the victory.
Courtney Walker played only 29 minutes of the game as did Courtney Williams, who played 28. Rachel Mitchell had 4 rebounds, 2 points, 1 block and 1 steal in her excellent 16 minutes of play. Tavarsha Scott-Williams had 4 points but she raced up and down the court and was a significant presence and irritant to Auburn attempts to play as she has calm and strength when she’s in there to get the job done.
The exciting play of shooter Tori Scott (6 rebounds, 7 points) brought new fire to the Aggie team, who were, undoubtedly “each and every girl on fire” last night. Curtyce Knox played great and she played smart, adding 6 points and 1 assist in 13 minutes of play. Achire Ade is the understated strength of Aggie defense. Don’t judge her play on numbers; 2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist don’t begin to tell the value of her contribution. She got a few (in my opinion, bum) calls for 3 personal fouls, but she plays with such intensity out there that she’s always an asset. Jada Terry got some game time and she has so much to offer; next year is her year to put numbers in stat boxes; wait and see.
Kristen Grant had 2 points on free throws, but those were clutch shots, and she added 2 important blocks. Allison Chu brought 12th Man spirit into the game at the end, and was a joy to see in the game. The Aggies managed to stifle Auburn’s Tanner sisters, holding Tyrese to 14 points and Tra’Cee to 6 points. Peyton Davis was persistent and got 5 rebounds but she dished out 5 personal fouls on the Aggies.
You just have to have so much respect for Courtney Williams, who took 2 personal fouls from Auburn, delivered with such velocity that she went down on the court, hard. Each time she just got back up and kept on going, when anyone else would have called 911 for first aid, and kept on going. “Cwill” loves the game so much and truly just “leaves it all out on the court” when she plays.
“Cwalk” as Coach Blair calls one of his “two CW’s,” played with sheer joy. After her 3-pointer went sailing through the net, she got this smile on her face that showed she was so much in the zone that no one was going to take her out of it. Texas A&M is fortunate to have all these players, who played so “together” and projected a senior-level confidence and maturity, that it belied their primarily sophomore class-year status.
Yesterday’s game didn’t lend the Aggies the usual volume, loud, large, strong and proud, of the home court Reed Arena group of supporters that they’ve grown to count on this year. In fact, you’d have to squint to see maroon among the see of orange. But deep down inside each player knew their very own 12th Man spirit was there for them, on TV, on the radio, and in their hearts.
On Sat., March 8, the showdown against Tennessee will be played at 1:30 p.m. CST; Tennessee fans probably set a new attendance record for the SEC tournament this year as they likely break their own record each year. The Aggies, though, will be able to search deep inside their memories and envision the crowd they see at Reed Arena, and take that memory into today’s game, with the eye on the prize of advancing to Sunday’s finals. Good luck to the Texas Aggie women’s basketball team vs. the University of Tennessee today.