Credit to Brandon Collins | Associate Director, Athletics Communications – 12thman.com
BERKELEY, Calif. – A dominant fourth quarter powered the Texas A&M women’s basketball team to a 65-51 victory over the host California Golden Bears in Saturday’s championship game of the Raising the B.A.R. Invitational at Haas Pavilion.
Endyia Rogers was named the MVP of the Raising the B.A.R. Invitational, averaging 13.0 points and 5.5 assists during the tourney. Janiah Barker was also named to the All-Tournament Team with 11.0 points and 8.0 boards per contest out in California.
Trailing by two heading into the fourth quarter, Texas A&M (5-1) held Cal (6-1) without a field goal for the first 7:41 of the period, sparking a 15-3 surge. When Lauren Ware made a layup at the 3:00 mark for her eighth point of the quarter, the Maroon & White found itself in control with a 59-49 cushion.
Texas A&M made six free throws in the final minute of action to keep the Golden Bears at bay.
The Aggies’ hounding defense held Cal to 1-of-16 (6.3%) shooting from the field, including 0-of-8 from long range in the decisive fourth quarter. The relentless work on both ends helped the Maroon & White outscore Cal 21-5 in the final stanza.
Ware scored nine of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter. She added four rebounds and four blocks. Barker added 10 points, five rebounds, one steal and one block. Rogers registered 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and one steal. Aicha Coulibaly turned in another stat sheet-stuffing performance with nine points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
For the game, Texas A&M held Cal to 16-of-64 (25.0%) field goal shooting. The Aggies owned advantages in points in the paint (30-14) and fast break points (12-2). The Maroon & White took care of the basketball with 15 assists while committing just 10 turnovers. The numbers helped Ol’ Sarge’s charges offset a 48-42 rebounding deficit.
Cal carried a 22-16 edge into the first intermission in a hard-fought opening quarter. The Aggies took an early 3-0 lead on Rogers’ 3-point field goal and reclaimed the advantage 16-15 at the 2:21 mark after a string of three-consecutive free throws by Coulibaly. But the Golden Bears scored the last seven points of the period.
The Aggies held Cal without a field goal for the first 7:51 of the second quarter to claw their way back into the game. Kay Kay Green’s 3-pointer at the 2:42 mark capped a 12-4 run as Texas &M nosed ahead 28-26. The lead exchanged hands four times in a span of 1:53 before the Golden Bears’ Lulu Laditan-Twidale sank a 3-pointer to send the teams to the locker room tied 34-34.
The see-sawing continued into the second half. Cal scored the first five points of the third quarter, but the Aggies got a jumper from Rogers and a bucket beyond the arc from Barker to tie the game 39-39 at the 6:12 mark. The Golden Bears briefly took the lead, but a layup by Ware and a layup and free throw by Rogers staked A&M to a 44-42 edge. Once again Cal had the last say in a quarter, scoring the final four points to go ahead 46-44 heading into the last intermission.
The Aggies will hit the road again to take on Wake Forest on Nov. 30 in the inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge.
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
Joni Taylor’s career record advances to 154-96 all-time and to 14-21 in her two seasons with the Aggies.
The Aggies are now 4-1 all-time versus Cal and 2-1 at Haas Pavilion.
The Aggies won their first true road game of the Joni Taylor era, and the first for the program since Feb. 25, 2021, when they won at Alabama, 73-67.
A&M surrendered just five points in the fourth quarter, marking the fifth single-digit quarter of the season for A&M.
The Maroon & White has held all but one opponent this year to 55 points-or-less.
Cal shot 1-of-16 from the field in the fourth for just a 6.3% conversion rate. That was the lowest shooting percentage of the year in a quarter for the A&M defense.
The Aggies extend their Thanksgiving tournament winning streak to five games and have not lost during a Thanksgiving tourney since Nov. 28, 2015, versus Ohio State.
Texas A&M began with a starting lineup of Endyia Rogers, Aicha Coulibaly, Sahara Jones, Janiah Barker and Lauren Ware (5-1).
Scored 10 points for the fifth time this season and the fifth-consecutive game.
Posted a team-high five assists, marking the fourth game this year the graduate has dished out five-or-more dimes.
Led the team in points for the first time this season, pouring in 11 in 25 minutes of action.
Swatted away four shots, tied for the second most blocks she has recorded this year.
Led all bench scorers for the first time this year, scoring six points and going 2-of-4 from the field.