Beware 'The Sydneys'
Colson, Carter big forces for Aggies on both sides of the ball
While senior forward Danielle Adams has grown to be the program’s first All-American, it is senior point guard Sydney Colson and junior guard Sydney Carter who make the world go around for the Aggies.
Colson is a four-year starter and, perhaps more impressively, a four-year team captain. Despite having an equal number of turnovers and assists on Sunday night in A&M’s victory against Stanford (six of each), Colson has more than twice as many assists as turnovers on the season.
Carter, a junior from DeSoto, Texas, is the team’s top defender and one of three Aggies averaging double-figure points. Texas A&M would not be playing on Tuesday night without either one of them.
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair is adamant about the importance of his point guard.
“My assistant coaches do a great job recruiting,” Blair said last week, “but I choose my own point guard. We’ve been recruiting Sydney Colson since I first got here and I could see her as a sixth grader playing AAU ball and the excitement she had.”
Despite her six turnovers against the Cardinal on Sunday night, Colson never hesitated to make the critical bounce-pass to Tyra White, who scored the game-winning bucket with 3.3 seconds remaining to beat Stanford.
Colson’s effort is focused squarely on directing the Aggies offense. Most times that results in passes to her teammates. Scoring is an afterthought.
“If I’m coming off a play where I’m supposed to be the first option then yeah, I’m looking for my shot,” said Colson, “but some of the shots I was taking in the first half [against Stanford] because the shot clock was winding down and I’m having to throw a three up. I think in this game I wasn’t really scoring a lot, only at the free-throw line really, and I had a layup or something. But on that last play especially, I wasn’t about to keep it. Tyra is a much better finisher than I am and I just gave the ball up to her and she did the hard work.
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“I believe in all of their games so much,” said Colson of the skill of her teammates. “I know how good they are. I know how good they are capable of being. No matter what the play is, I’m ready to give it off to anybody because I know they’ll knock down that shot or they’ll hit that layup or even on defense we’re depending on one another to get that charge if we get beat or anything like that so whenever we’re running transition all the time in practice they know I’m looking for them a lot of the time especially if there’s traffic. I’m like y’all know that I’m looking for the bigger guards or a post to score so be ready and Tyra was.”
White, who scored the go-ahead basket in the National Semifinal victory against Stanford, has known and played with an against Colson since AAU ball.
“She had six turnovers,” said White. “I think it says a lot about her trusting me to be able to make that shot.”
Blair had been aware of his point guard’s struggles against Stanford as well, but there was never a question that she would make the right moves when all the chips were down.
“I knew she would come back in and make the right read at the right time, and the right play,” said Blair. “The pass was harder to make than the shot that Tyra White made. So give credit to the pass, instead of the shot. The shot was good because Tyra’s the best kid we have at finishing on the driving layup.”
Likewise, Blair knew that even though Carter was exhausted, he couldn’t afford to take her out of the game in the second half.
“I was having some psychological issues out there,” said Carter. “My lips were saying ‘you’re not tired’ but my brain and my body were saying ‘man, you are on ‘E’ right now.’ I just got it together and said look. Nine minutes or six minutes or whatever it was that for the rest of our seniors careers. I’m not ready to be done. I’ve just got to get through it. I’ve got to find something in me that’s just going to push me through for these last few minutes.”
Carter admits she was gassed by the midpoint of the second half, but was too important to the Aggies to come off of the court.
“I never want to come out of the game,” said Carter. “If he would have taken me out then I probably would have been upset I would have been like ‘Coach, please put me back in’ but yeah, I wasn’t ready to come out. I know he needs me in there to finish the game off and for me to have defensive pressure out there because I am one of the best on-ball defenders for our team, but I definitely didn’t want to come out.”
Associate head coach Vic Schaefer directs the Aggies defense, where Carter shines the brightest. Notre Dame sophomore Skylar Diggins is familiar with the role Carter plays for the Aggies.
“I’ve had a chance to play with Syd Carter,” said Diggins. “She’s actually one of my good friends from USA Basketball, she was my roommate, so I’ve seen her at the trials and she’s a great on-the-ball defender and she has a great mid-range jump shot and she has very good speed. She’s going to be up in your face and she’s going to be a pest on defense so we definitely have to make sure we protect the ball.”
Carter is well aware of her defensive role and embraces it.
“I think that my role on this team is to be a great defensive player and to help my team out as much as possible on the defensive end,” said Carter. “It all starts with me on the ball. If I’m making someone uncomfortable out there, then my teammates will feed off of my energy and say ‘well, she’s playing hard so I’ve got to play hard as well.’ That’s the type of team we are. We feed off of playing hard and giving effort. I definitely think it starts with me on the defensive end.”
There is no way to know whether another driving layup and perfect pass combo, or tenacious defense will make the difference for the Aggies to take home the National Championship trophy on Tuesday night, but it is certain that “The Sydneys” of Texas A&M will be a deciding factor in the outcome of the game.