COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Playing Georgia brings out the best in Texas A&M’s N’dea Jones who grew up in Lawrenceville, which is only 41 miles away from the Lady Bulldogs campus.
Jones had 15 points and 12 rebounds in leading the No. 8 Aggies to a 60-48 victory over No. 22 Georgia on Sunday.
Texas A&M (16-1, 7-1 in SEC) won its ninth straight at home as Kayla Wells added 13 points and Ciera Johnson 12. Gabby Connally had 18 points for Georgia (13-4, 5-4) and Que Morrison added 12.
A&M missed 12 of its first 15 field goals, but warmed up to 20 of its last 37 shots (54%), taking the lead for good early in the third quarter. The 6-foot-2 Jones hit 6 of 10 and played all 40 minutes in earning her 12th double-double of the season.
“Playing UGA, it is the home team and I most definitely play 10 times harder against them,” Jones said. “I’m going to try to play my absolute best, either making them have a bad-shooting night or a bad-rebounding night – they’re going to get my best every time I step on the court. Every team is going to get my best, but especially UGA.”
The senior, who improved to 4-0 all-time against the Lady Bulldogs, was a big part of a defensive effort that limited Georgia to its fewest points with a stifling effort.
Georgia made only 19 of 61 field goals (31.1%) and couldn’t mount a charge in the fourth quarter as it missed 11 of 12 shots in a 6-minute, 49-second window that helped the Aggies to stretch their lead to 57-44 lead.
Turnovers were a telling factor. Both had 18, but Georgia had more live-ball mistakes, allowing the Aggies to have a 21-3 edge in points off turnovers.
“We were able to come down in transition (and score), before they could get set up,” Johnson said. “I think we also did a good job getting back and taking away their first shot.”
Georgia is a good free-throw shooting team, but it made only 5 of 6, while A&M was 14 of 19.
“We held a very good Texas A&M team to 60 points – that’s (usually) good enough to win,” Georgia coach Joni Taylor said. “We just could not hit shots and we fouled way too much.”
A&M took control of the game in the third quarter with an 8-0 run for a 39-30 lead capped by a Jones’ jumper with 4:18 left in the third quarter. Wells added a layup in the spurt with Jones scoring two layups.
The Aggies scored the last five points of the first half for a 22-22 tie as Johnson had a three-point play and added another free throw as did Aaliyah Wilson. Georgia took its biggest lead of the half on back to back 3-pointers by Morrison and Connally to make it 20-15 with 3:14 left.
A&M had a 34-12 edge in paint points behind the 6-4 Johnson and Jones who combined for 27 points, hitting 10 of 17 field goals.
Georgia’s Jenna Staiti, who came in averaging a team-high 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds, but the 6-3 post picked up two quick fouls and was never a factor, ending with four points and one rebound in 12 minutes.
“We knew they wanted to get the ball inside to Straiti,” Johnson said. “A lot of that comes because of her being in foul trouble. They really didn’t have a post presence inside in the paint.”
Georgia: The Bulldogs have lost three off four with the other losses to No. 4 South Carolina and LSU.
Texas A&M: A&M opened a rare five-game home stand by improving to 6-0 against Top 25 teams.
Georgia: will host Alabama on Thursday
Texas A&M: will host LSU on Thursday