March 25, 2021
Jordan Nixon on her thoughts before the game-winning shot: “Make the basket”
Transfer standout propels Texas A&M to third straight NCAA Sweet 16
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“Make the basket.”
That’s all Jordan Nixon could think as she went to the length of the court and drove to the basket for the overtime buzzer-beater that propelled Texas A&M to an 84-82 victory over No. 7 Iowa State.
The victory sends the Aggies into the NCAA Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year.
“I caught the rebound and ‘go’ was all I heard,” Nixon said afterward. “They (teammates) were spreading the floor and once I saw daylight – I didn’t think I had enough time – but I had to put it up. Put it up and live with the decision; live with the shot.
“I’m so happy it went in.”
The No. 2 Lady Aggies can thank Nixon for being in OT in the first place. They battled a tough 3-point shooting team in Iowa State and could have very well lost – were it not for Nixon who again drove to the basket with a second left to tie the game at 75-all at the end of regulation, then promptly drilled a three to start the Aggies’ OT scoring – the first time they had led all night.
The game went back and forth, but A&M’s experience, pressure defense, and size took over, as did Nixon, who scored seven of the Aggies’ nine OT points.
Head Coach Gary Blair called it “a championship performance by that young lady and our team that didn’t give up. Jordan has that moment in her. She wants the moment. Very few athletes want that.
“Jordan Nixon is a winner,” Blair continued. “She’s so good. I remember a couple of years ago when she came down (to A&M) on her official visit. Sometimes you get lucky and know the fit is perfect. She fit like perfection. I can’t say enough about this basketball team and the individual performance Nixon had.”
Nixon’s clutch performance in both regulation and overtime seemed to take even her by surprise. When the ball went through the net in overtime, she just stood there.
“I was savoring the moment,” she explained. “In this time we’re always thinking of the next thing. That moment when I stopped, that was me taking it all in; we’re going to the Sweet 16.
“We just clawed back against a really good team, down to the wire,” she continued. “I was just taking it all in. I knew they (teammates) were going to swarm me. I was just waiting for it to happen.”
Nixon finished the night with a game-high 35 points. She went 16-for-28 from the floor with seven assists, two rebounds, one steal, and one block.
She was able to do that – and extend A&M’s season – because of the trust her teammates have in her, as she tearfully explained during her postgame interview.
“I say it all the time and it really goes back to trust,” she said as she held back tears. “They trust me. They trust me to make plays. They trust me to lead this team. Win, lose or draw, every single person on that bench is behind me and it just makes these moments that much more special.”
Those tears weren’t just for the moment – they were also for her assistant coach and former Aggie basketball player Dave Edwards, who passed this summer.
“I just wanted to win the game. There was a little something in me that wanted to do something for him, to dedicate for his memory,” she said. “It’s always been surreal when you set a standard for yourself, when you challenge yourself to rise to the occasion and do it. That’s where the emotion came from.
“He was one of my biggest fans and this game was for him.”
She also credited the “spirit of the 12th man. We keep fighting. This team is so resilient. I said it two days ago and I’ll say it again, I’ve said it all season; we never say die and I think you saw that tonight.
“We worked so hard this year. We clawed back in this game,” Nixon said.
“We didn’t want to go home tonight. And I’m glad we’re still dancing.”
They play Arizona next in the Sweet 16.