LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kayla Wells and her Texas A&M basketball teammates arrived in Los Angeles with two full days before their game against USC.
The Aggies made the most of it, taking in Hollywood and the Clippers-Rockets game.
Perhaps all that attributed to a slow start, but the Aggies turned it on as they always seem to do and erased a slow start. Chennedy Carter scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half and Wells added 16 points to lead No. 6 Texas A&M to a 74-64 victory over USC on Saturday.
Carter had at least 20 points for the third consecutive game for the Aggies (4-0).
“They were getting in passing lanes and pressuring us,” Wells said. “We came out kind of lackadaisical and we shouldn’t have. We needed crisp passes and hard cuts. I felt like when we came out that’s when they smacked us in the face. They got some tips and hands on the ball, some steals. It was like oh, we need to wake up. We haven’t been coming out well and we need to do a better job of that.”
Aaliyah Wilson made a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Texas A&M its first lead of the game at 27-25. It would never lose it.
Freshmen Endyia Rogers scored 20 points and Alissa Pili added 12 points for USC (3-2), which was without three players who are injured, including two starters.
“I think we played very well as a team,” Rogers said. “Obviously, we have to build on it and take it to the next game and then to conference.”
Wells, who went to her first NBA game on Friday, got plenty of inspiration watching some of the world’s best players. The Clippers beat the Rockets.
“It was great to watch some of the best players like Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, Russell Westbrook,” Wells said. “It was great competition. So fun. They also had (Roddy Rich) performing at halftime. It was an amazing environment. We had really good seats.”
USC got off to a good start, scoring three of the game’s first four baskets and led 21-19 after the first quarter. The Aggies responded, especially with their physicality inside. The Aggies had outrebounded USC, 44-26. The Aggies had 16 offensive rebounds.
Aggies guard Shambria Washington had seven points, eight assists and four steals. Kyra White had two steals off the bench for the Trojans.
RAIN RAIN DON’T GO AWAY
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair has made the trek to Los Angeles plenty in his coaching career, but this trip he thought L.A. has changed.
“Everything in L.A. is green. Everybody is smiling. You don’t have the smog that you used to,” Blair said.
It rained in L.A. on Wednesday before the team arrived later that night, providing for a couple of days of clear skies.
NOT THE 1,000 CLUB
There were just 682 fans in attendance, undoubtedly attributed to the afternoon football rivalry game between USC and UCLA at the nearby Coliseum.
Texas A&M: The Aggies used a physical presence inside and transition game to score how they wanted.
USC: With nine new players on the roster — including seven true freshmen — this was a good test against a top 10 team.
Texas A&M: Hosts Prairie View A&M on Wednesday.
USC: Plays Nebraska at the Southpoint Shootout Friday in Las Vegas.
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25