Aggies fall on road to Lady Volunteers
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 00:03
After falling to Vanderbilt on Sunday, the state of Tennessee continued to haunt Texas A&M on Thursday night as the Lady Volunteers downed the Aggies by a 82-72 margin at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.
Dropping its second consecutive game for the first time since November, the No. 13 A&M women’s basketball team was defeated by No. 8 Tennessee, which leads the SEC. The Aggies’ loss to an unranked Vanderbilt on Sunday was their first defeat to an unranked opponent all season.
The Vanderbilt and Tennessee road games marked two of the last three matchups of the regular season for the Aggies. Junior All-American candidate Kelsey Bone said she knew they would provide a challenge.
“When you start talking about the last three games, they are not easy games,” Bone said. “We are talking about tournament teams that we are getting ready to face three games in a row. We just have to focus on what we are doing and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Aggies remain winless against the Lady Volunteers, having now faced them three times in the program’s history. Tennessee improves to 14-1 in the SEC and secures the regular season SEC title.
A&M started the game neck-and-neck with the Lady Volunteers, shooting 50 percent from the field to Tennessee's 39 percent in the first half. Neither team led by more than five points in the first 17 minutes, but by the end of the period, Tennessee had begun to take control. The Lady Vols went on a 12-2 run late to put them ahead 37-32 going into the locker room at halftime.
Tennessee senior guard Taber Spani said the team respects the Aggies.
"A lot of their team runs through their point guard and Kelsey Bone down low," Spani said. "So we had to tweak our game plan a little bit. Obviously we respect them a lot, they're a great team."
A&M continued to threaten the Lady Vols but never regained its lead. Tennessee went on yet another 13-2 run during the second half to put them up 66-52. Soon after, Pratcher would bring the Aggies within four with eight straight points, cutting the lead to three at 67-64.
Though it seemed as though the Aggies were on a roll, the Lady Volunteers proceeded to drop an impressive seven points in only 51 seconds to give them another double-digit lead with under six minutes to play in the game.
Tennessee's lead was cut to four with less than four minutes left. Freshman guard Courtney Walker would score the last 4 points for the Aggies, but Tennessee withstood the Aggies' effort to take the 82-72 win.
The Aggies now stand at 11-4 in conference play and 21-8 overall.
"I like the competition of the Top 5 teams in our league," A&M head coach Gary Blair said. "And what we're doing to make each other better. The last time I heard, it takes four to go to the Final Four and I wouldn't ever count out an SEC team to get there, including ourselves, including Kentucky and Tennessee."