Wells has 21 as No. 7 A&M outlasts No. 16 Arkansas 69-67
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kayla Wells had a season-high 21 points and Jordan Nixon made a layup with eight seconds remaining to lift No. 7 Texas A&M to a 69-67 win over No. 16 Arkansas on Sunday.
“I’m worn out. It seems like we’ve had so many of these close ball games,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. “I’ve got to trust my veterans down the stretch to make plays and they’ve been doing it.”
A 3-pointer by Amber Ramirez tied it at 67-all with less than 90 seconds to go. Both teams missed a shot on their next possession before Nixon drove into the lane for the basket to put the Aggies up for good.
Ramirez missed a 3-point attempt after that to secure A&M’s sixth straight win.
“They’re one of the best defensive teams in the country,” Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said. “You’re not going to get a great look because they’re going to contest every shot.”
This victory comes after the Aggies (18-1, 9-1 SEC) escaped with a 74-73 win in Fayetteville in the first meeting with Arkansas (14-7, 4-6) this season.
The Razorbacks were led by Ramirez, who had 21 points, with five 3-pointers to give her four straight games with five or more 3s. The Aggies did a good job of slowing down leading scorer Chelsea Dungee, who finished with 12 points, after entering the game averaging 22.4.
“We focus on her a lot trying to take her touches away,” Wells said. “I think today we did a really, really great job on attacking her on offense and swarming her on defense.”
Blair also raved about the work of Wells.
“This was her best complete game of the year,” he said. “She was in attack-mode instead of settling or waiting for space.”
Texas A&M led by 8 after three and opened the fourth quarter with a 6-2 spurt to make it 62-50 with about seven minutes to go. The Razorbacks took over after that, scoring 11 straight points, with five from Amber Ramirez, to tie it at 62-all with three minutes remaining.
Wells scored A&M’s first points in more than four minutes with a 3-pointer soon after that to put the Aggies on top.
“Kayla Wells came to play,” Nixon said. “I’m so proud of her. She showed up for us in a big way.”
The Aggies were up by 5 in the third before the Razorbacks used an 8-0 run, with five points from Erynn Barnum, to take a 47-44 lead.
Texas A&M ending its scoring drought soon after that and ended the quarter with a 12-1 run to take a 56-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We lost that game in the middle of the third quarter,” Neighbors said. “We didn’t lose it at the end. We had a little lapse of focus and they went on a run.”
The Aggies played better offensively against Arkansas than they did in narrowly beating LSU in a defensive battle on Thursday night. Now they’ll have some time to rest and regroup with an 11-day layoff until their next game because of coronavirus schedule shuffling.
Texas A&M’s Aaliyah Wilson filled up the stat sheet on Sunday, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
And as good as her line was, Blair insisted that she was even better than that.
“She does so many things that don’t show up on the sheet,” he said.
Arkansas: Hosts Mississippi State on Thursday night.
Texas A&M: Their next game isn’t until Feb. 18 against Missouri after Sunday’s game was moved up from Feb. 14 after the previously scheduled game against Tennessee was postponed because of coronavirus issues.