BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Career-high scoring efforts by Janiah Barker and Jada Malone were not enough as the Texas A&M women’s basketball team lost Sunday afternoon’s game to the Rice Owls, 66-58, inside Reed Arena.
Barker recorded her first career double-double with 19 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. Barker hit 8-of-15 from the field. Malone logged 10 points, hitting 5-of-7 field goals, and added two blocked shots. Sahara Jones filled the stat sheet with nine points, six rebounds, three assists and a block.
Texas A&M trailed 45-44 heading into the fourth quarter but were unable to claim an advantage down the stretch. Two 3-point field goals by Rice’s Kat Crosthwait midway through the period allowed the Owls to stretch the gap to 59-51 at the 3:06 mark and the Maroon & White was unable to draw closer than six points in the waning minutes.
The Aggies scored the first eight points coming out of halftime to take their biggest lead of the game, 33-25, at the 7:47 mark of the third quarter. Rice slowly chipped away and a jumper by Ashlee Austin and a free throw by Malia Fisher gave the Owls a 41-39 edge with 1:49 remaining in the quarter.
The teams played on an even keel in the first half with the scored tied 25-25 at the intermission. The Aggies shot a tepid 35.7% (10-of-28) from the field in the half but remained in the fray with a 13-5 margin in points-off-turnovers.
The Owls claimed a 21-15 lead, their largest of the first half, at the 7:02 mark of the second quarter. Malone responded by scoring six of the Aggies’ next eight points, knotting the game at 23-23.
Rice had the upper hand through most of the first quarter and held a 14-13 advantage at the break. Barker paced the Aggies with eight points and two boards in the period.
Texas A&M heads to Lawrence, Kansas, to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
Texas A&M moves to 4-2 in the 2022-23 regular season.
The Aggies’ record against the Owls is trimmed to 35-11 all-time.
Texas A&M utilized a starting lineup of Sydney Bowles, Janiah Barker, McKinzie Green, Sahara Jones and Aaliyah Patty for the sixth time this season (4-2).
- Registered the first double-double of her career, being the first freshman to get a double-double for the program since Khaalia Hillsman on Feb. 26, 2015, against Missouri.
- Hit a career-high 19 points with her previous best being 17 on Nov. 20, 2022, against Texas Southern.
- Scored in double-digits for the fifth-consecutive game.
- Brought down a career-high 12 rebounds, her previous high being eight against Texas Southern on Nov. 20, 2022.
- Leading the Aggies off the bench, she put up a career-high 10 points.
- Matched her career high with two blocks, her last contest recording two being Jan. 2, 2022, against LSU.
- Hit two 3-point field goals, the sixth-consecutive game she’s drained at least one.
- Added four rebounds and two steals.
Head Coach Joni Taylor
On what wasn’t going right in the fourth quarter…
“I thought we executed pretty well for most of the game, and then we get to the fourth quarter, and didn’t execute some of the things we were running on offense. Defensively, we had a lot of lapses as well. I just thought there was a lack of execution and lock-in on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter after, for the most part, having pretty good moments for most of the game.”
On the learning experience…
“We told them before the game started that Rice is really good. Whatever happens after this game, we’re going to learn a lot from it. We’re going to learn a lot about ourselves, what worked, what we’ve got to continue to do, what we’ve got to stop doing and what we’ve got to start doing. This was good for us. There’s going to be a lot of things that we can take from this.