COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Texas A&M has had trouble maintaining its intensity once it gained big leads this season.
On Wednesday night they finally fixed that problem.
Kelsey Bone and Karla Gilbert scored 14 points apiece to lead No. 15 Texas A&M to its fourth straight win, 67-36, over Kansas State.
Texas A&M led 39-19 at halftime and used a 12-5 run early in the second half to extend its advantage to 51-24. Tyra White had five points to lead the Aggies in that span.
“We talked about not taking our foot off their throats,” Bone said. “(associate head) Coach (Vic Schaefer) told us at halftime: `You want to wake some people up and get some people’s attention, hold them to 19 more points.”‘
Instead they limited the Wildcats to just 17 to leave them with their lowest point total of the season.
“We’re getting mentally tough,” coach Gary Blair said.
The win leaves the Aggies (17-5, 8-3 Big 12) in second place in the Big 12 entering Saturday’s game against league-leader and top-ranked Baylor. It will be the first meeting between the teams since A&M’s win in the regional final last season en route to its first national championship.
Brittany Chambers had 11 points and was the only player with double digits for Kansas State (15-8, 6-5).
Blair rotated the 6-foot-4 Bone and 6-5 Gilbert and the duo proved to be a nearly unstoppable combination inside. The two helped the Aggies outscore Kansas State 44 to 6 in the paint.
“The play in the first half of Kelsey Bone and Karla Gilbert was really significant, just establishing how much they wanted to own the paint on both ends of the floor,” Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. “Those two stepped up their game and took control.”
Blair was impressed with the dominance of Bone and Gilbert.
“That’s the best we’ve looked all year at that position,” he said. “They both played very well and they were aggressive.”
The Aggies also took advantage of 23 turnovers which they turned into 29 points.
“They played a great defensive game,” Chambers said. “We just didn’t play tough tonight at all. We let them dictate every aspect of the game.”
White added 13 points and had 10 rebounds and Adaora Elonu had eight points for Texas A&M.
Kansas State won this year’s first meeting 71-69 in overtime in the Big 12 opener for both teams. On Wednesday the Aggies were in control from the start and the Wildcats never got closer than 18 points in the second half.
Patterson raved about how much Bone had improved since that first meeting, but the player gave her team credit for the change.
“I think it just goes into the chemistry that we’re building with one another,” Bone said.
The Aggies led by five points in the first half before using a 16-2 to extend their lead to 33-14 with three minutes remaining in the first half. Alexia Standish had two 3-pointers early in that run.
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