BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M women’s basketball team commenced the Joni Taylor era with a 69-45 win over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders in Thursday’s season opener inside Reed Arena.
The Aggies never trailed in the final 36:05 of the contest as they improved to 36-14 in season openers, including 6-2 under first-year head coaches. Taylor, who served as Georgia’s head coach for seven seasons, improved to 8-0 in season openers.
Texas A&M used stifling defense to go on a 14-0 run over a stretch of 7:57 in the third quarter, giving the Aggies a 52-32 lead with 1:10 remaining in the period. The Maroon & White forced nine turnovers in the third frame and owned a 56-36 advantage headed into the final act.
The game was never in doubt in the fourth quarter. The Aggies led by as many as 29 points at the 3:07 mark with 67-38 gap.
Freshman guard Sydney Bowles led all scorers with 13 points and a team-high three triples. Junior guard Sahara Jones registered 11 points, adding four rebounds and a career-high four assists. Sophomore guard Tineya Hylton recorded career highs with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and six assists. Freshman forward Janiah Barker led all players with eight rebounds and six steals while adding eight points and three blocks.
After a sluggish start in the first quarter, a pair of 3-pointers by Bowles sparked a 10-0 run for the Aggies over a span of 1:37 as they claimed a 13-6 advantage at the 4:48 mark. Bowles finished the first quarter with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from long range with Texas A&M inflating the lead to 20-11 at the break.
The Aggies shot 53.3% (8-of-15) from the field in the second quarter. The Maroon & White took a 38-26 edge into the intermission as graduate guard McKinzie Green sank a layup in the waning moments to equal A&M’s largest margin of the half.
The Aggies take on Army (1-1) at 2 p.m. inside Reed Arena for the second game of the season.
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
Texas A&M advances to 1-0 to start the 2022-23 regular season.
The Aggies are now 7-0 all-time against the Islanders.
The Maroon & White is 36-14 in season openers and head coach Joni Taylor advances to 8-0 all-time in season openers.
Texas A&M favored in points-off-turnovers, 30-10.
The Aggie defense forced nine turnovers in the third quarter and 22 overall throughout the game.
The Maroon & White held the Islanders to a scoring drought for a 14-0 run in the third period.
The Aggies held A&M-Corpus Christi to 45 points, a feat they accomplished three times all of last season.
Texas A&M utilized a starting lineup of Sydney Bowles, Janiah Barker, McKinzie Green, Sahara Jones and Aaliyah Patty for the first time this season (1-0).
Sydney Bowles made her Aggie debut as the top scorer, putting up 13 points and dishing out two assists with a team-best three triples.
Newcomer Janiah Barker paced all players in rebounds and steals, bringing down eight and six, respectively. Barker also tied for a team best with three blocked shots.
Barker’s six steals was the most for an Aggie since Aaliyah Wilson recorded six versus Troy on March 22, 2021.
Leading the Aggies off the bench, newcomer Tineya Hylton had a career day with career-bests in points (10), minutes (23), assists (6) and steals (2).
Sahara Jones tallied a career-high four assists, registering 11 points and four rebounds.
Joni Taylor advances her record to 141-75 all time and 1-0 to begin her first season in Aggieland.
Texas A&M Head Coach Joni Taylor
On how the game went…
“I thought our effort was there. We have got to be smarter in some areas. We need to get our turnovers down. We took some quick shots, but that is going to happen when we play with pace and still trying to figure things out. Our defense has to be our anchor, we gave up too many points in the paint and only outrebounded them by two. They (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) are a really good team, Royce Chadwick has them ready to go. They have a lot of veteran starters that have played a ton of games and I expect them to do really well in their conference. With that being said, we have to have an identity of being physical, aggressive rebounders and setting the tone defensively.”
On how defense changed the game…
“They (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) scored 11 points in the first quarter and then in the second quarter we gave them 10 points with four minutes left in the quarter, so being able to hold them to six after them dictating tempo reiterates that our defense has to be our anchor. That is who we can be. We have the ability to sub in a lot of different players who can do a lot of different things on both sides of the ball.”
Freshman Guard Sydney Bowles
On how it feels to win the first game…
“It feels really good, you always want to start out with a win for the season, but back to the drawing board. The next 24 hours we are preparing for another team, so just making sure we are coming in and taking the next steps. It is good to win, but we also need to be prepared to move on to the next.”
Sophomore Guard Tineya Hylton
On the feeling of starting the season…
“I think it was excitement, it wasn’t really nervousness. It was the first game coming in and having a new environment for me seeing all the fans. It was excitement for me.”