- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Texas A&M; coach Gary Blair didn’t let the disappointment of losing to No. 1 South Carolina keep him from floating something on his bucket list that had nothing to do with basketball.

“What I would like to do is play golf” with South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, Blair said smiling. “We’re both old coaches. Set that up for me sometimes. At my course, please.”

Blair might have a better chance at succeeding there then the 12th-ranked Aggies did in a 79-61 loss Monday night. Texas A&M; fell to 0-15 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in The AP poll.

The Aggies (16-5, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) were hurt with their two leading scorers, Courtney Williams and Courtney Walker, having ineffective games. Williams had 12 points on 3-of-21 shooting while Walker made five of seven field goals for 10 points.

Blair said Williams game went south when she failed to get a couple of foul calls on missed shots early on. Walker, he said, needed to be more aggressive in finding more shots.

“Too many times, we were having to hodge-podge our offense,” Blair said. “And you can’t just win a game on hully gully.”

“We just,” he said, “were not good enough.”

South Carolina showed why it’s the best in the game right now.

Freshman A’ja Wilson scored 18 points, defending Southeastern Conference player of the year Tiffany Mitchell added 16 points and Alaina Coates had 12 points and 11 rebounds as South Carolina remained unbeaten.

The Gamecocks (19-0, 7-0), who remained on top of the rankings for a 10th straight poll earlier Monday, put away the Aggies with a 27-8 run in the second half after seeing their double-digit lead shrink to 40-38. That’s when Mitchell made four consecutive free throws to start the run. She added four more points and Coates scored six points as South Carolina took control.

It was the Gamecocks fourth win over a ranked opponent this season and second against another powerhouse program in the SEC after a 68-60 win over then 10th-ranked Kentucky on Jan. 11.

“I don’t think we get too caught up in all of that,” Mitchell said. “We know at the end of the day we want to be the top team in the country. If we just keep going, we know that’s going to happen.”

South Carolina had been 0-3 all-time against the Aggies, including a 50-48 loss here two years ago that was the Gamecocks last loss at the Colonial Life Arena. But the Aggies struggled shooting as 14-point-a-game scorer Courtney Williams was 3 of 21 from the field.

Achiri Ade led Texas A&M; with 15 points. Walker, the SEC’s fifth-leading scorer, had 10 points, nearly five fewer than her average.

Coates, last year’s SEC freshman of the year, had her eighth game this season with double figure points and rebounds. Wilson, the 6-foot-5 forward, had nine rebounds and two blocks for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina hasn’t had too many problems in SEC play, winning its six previous games by an average of 21 points and just once letting the opponent reach 60 points.

The Aggies opened the used a 7-1 run at the start of the second half to cut the lead to 40-38 before South Carolina’s back-breaking run.

TECH TIME

Texas A&M; coach Gary Blair said he clearly broke the rules late in the game when he walked way out on the court to talk with an official and was called for his first technical in three years. “I wanted some attention,” he joked.

POTENT BENCH

South Carolina’s bench outscored the reserves of Texas A&M; 41-8. Of course, it helps when the Gamecocks can bring 6-foot-5 Wilson and the 6-4 Coates, last year’s SEC freshman of the year, in as subs. Wilson says they’ve embraced their roles as the Gamecocks chase a championship.

GAME PLANNING FOR UCONN

Texas A&M;’s Blair told the Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley how to handle the big matchup with the Huskies in two weeks. “I told Dawn if she would go inside like she did against us against Connecticut, she’s got a great chance,” he said.

TIP-INS

Texas A&M;: Aggies athletic director Eric Hyman held the same job at South Carolina for seven years. He hired Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley away from Temple after the 2007-08 season.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks won their 27th straight at home, tying Connecticut for the nation’s longest active streak. No. 1 South Carolina plays at the second-ranked Huskies on Feb. 9.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M;: returns home to play Auburn on Sunday

South Carolina: continues its homestand Thursday night against Alabama.


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