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Texas A&M's point guard Jordan Nixon credits 'chaotic' New York City for her clutch play

Colby Gordon
American-Statesman Correspondent
Texas A&M guard Jordan Nixon drives the ball down court during the Aggies' 84-80 win over Troy in the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament at the Frank Erwin Center on Monday. Nixon paced the Aggies with 21 points in the victory.

Texas A&M sophomore point guard Jordan Nixon is new to the Aggies this season, but she’s quickly become the go-to player for the SEC champions down the stretch.

A transfer from Notre Dame, Nixon is the only non-senior in Texas A&M’s starting lineup and earlier this season beat Arkansas twice in a three-week stretch with buzzer-beating layups.

And while she didn’t have any last-second heroics Monday at the Frank Erwin Center, she did take control of the Aggies offense late, scoring nine of her team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to help second-seeded Texas A&M hold off Troy, 84-80, in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament.

“I always throw it back to trust,” Nixon said. “My teammates and coaches trust me to make plays. I’m someone who’s even keel. I know what to do and just try to go out there and execute.”

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In a game that had the off-the-court feel of a preseason scrimmage with maybe 100 fans in a facility that holds more than 16,000 and some on-court coaching from Trojans coach Chanda Rigby being audible at the top of the lower bowl, Nixon was the cool head in a sense of panic by Texas A&M. The Aggies watched their 16-point third-quarter lead turn into a two-point deficit midway through the fourth, but Nixon’s drives to the basket and heady ball-handling helped avoid what would have been a monumental upset as a No. 2 seed has never lost to a 15 seed in the women’s competition.

“In the game of basketball, things happen, and this time of year it’s just survive and advance,” Nixon said. “I just always want to be my best for my team. The ball is in my hand and I want to make decisions, whether it’s me driving and taking the shot or running the offense and passing to the right person.”

Growing up in the heart of New York City, Nixon was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and named Miss New York Basketball 2018.

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She credits the experience of living in the lively atmosphere of one of the largest cities in the world for creating her no-fear attitude late in games.

“If you’ve been to New York, you know,” she said. “It’s just something in the air there. I don’t really know how to describe it, but anything can happen in the city. It’s chaotic. You can’t have fear within all the chaos, especially being in the city.”

Nixon has started every game this season for the Aggies, with her role gradually transitioning into more of a scorer. Monday marked a career high in points for her and the seventh straight game she’s been in double figures.

But it’s her late-game poise that makes Texas A&M coach Gary Blair appreciate her most.

“With Jordan, she just knows she can do it,” he said. “She’s very good when she comes off the screen and drives to the middle. She’s just a great competitor because her leadership is so good on the court.”

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As the Aggies go on to play seventh-seeded Iowa State in the second round Wednesday, Nixon welcomes the opportunity to do whatever she can to keep Texas A&M’s season alive. 

“I’m just so happy to be out on the court playing basketball,” Nixon said. “Whatever happens late in a game happens — you just have to live with the decisions you make and hope for the best.”