SAN ANTONIO – In the NCAA women’s tournament game so far, Texas A&M guard Jordan Nixon hit a spinning float as the bell rang to beat Iowa State in overtime, 84-82, and give the Aggies a spot. at Sweet Sixteen.
“All I thought was ‘push’,” Nixon said. “Push. I have to go, I have to get out. As soon as I set the shot, I knew I was going in. Honestly.
“Once I saw daylight, I thought I didn’t have enough time to do anything, but my teammates ran down the court and I just had to pick it up,” Nixon said. “Putting it on is the only thing I thought. Live with the shot, live with the decision. I’m happy that it came in.”
He capped off Nixon’s career night, 35 points on 16-of-28 pitches plus 7 assists, and the second came close in one big moment after another when second-seeded Aggies came out of a hole in the second half.
“It’s always about confidence for me,” Nixon said. “My teammates wanted to give me the ball, they wanted me to take shots. They trusted me to make plays and they trusted me to lead this team.”
For Nixon, it was also an emotional game, as he had quietly dedicated it to his high school coach, Dave Edwards, a student of Aggie, who died a year and a day ago from COVID-19 at age 48.
“He was one of my biggest fans,” Nixon said. “This game was for him.”
Iowa State, a seventh seed, built a 12-point second-half lead behind a series of long-range shots from rookie Lexi Donarski and junior Ashley Joens. Joens had 32 points plus 18 rebounds and appeared to have sealed a trip to Sweet 16 for the Cyclones with a y-1 with 39 seconds left to put Iowa State up in four.
Aggie’s guard, N’dea Jones, responded quickly with a layup, Jones made two free throws and Nixon responded again with a jump shot. A&M caught the incoming pass and forced a jump, opening the door for Nixon to tie the game with a layup with five seconds left.
“Jordan Nixon is a winner. She’s so good,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “I still remember two years ago when she came on her official visit. Sometimes you’re just lucky and you know she fits perfectly. When she came in she was a perfect fit.”
The Aggies’ first lead came in overtime when Nixon opened the extra frame with a 3. It was routine for Texas A&M as Iowa State rejected every run with an answer. But Nixon had more answers, throwing jumper shots at big points to keep A&M at attacking distance to prepare the running back who hits the buzzer.
“Jordan has that moment in her. She wants the moment,” Blair said. “That was probably the shot that was heard throughout the state of Texas. I hope everyone saw it.”
At the end of the stage, the intensity exploded in the Alamodome and despite the vast emptiness of the huge arena, the small crowd of family members was raucous. They booed the officials, chanted and cheered, stomped and clapped. It was a memorable setting despite COVID-19 protocols preventing a traditional tournament atmosphere.
“It was a phenomenal college basketball game,” said Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly.
After the shot fell, just before her teammates attacked her looking for a pile of dogs, Nixon froze, taking in the scene and trying to take a snapshot of the memory.
“I was savoring the moment. In this age, in this age, we are always thinking about the next, always looking forward,” he said, “but that moment when I stopped, I was the one who took it in. Let’s go to Sweet 16, We just came back against a really good team, until the last moment. These are the moments. These are the moments you remember with your teammates. We will always remember this day, this year and this tournament. “
The Aggies will play No. 3 seed Arizona on Saturday.
“We need about two weeks off,” Blair joked, “and then we’ll play again.”