Starks Sparks Aggie Win

By: Texas A&M Sports Information
By: Texas A&M Sports Information

COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Behind the strength of a career-high 29 points by junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas), the 19th-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team, number-20 in the A.P. Poll, rolled to a 70-56 victory over Texas Tech in front of a season-high crowd of 5,056 on “Beat the Hell Outta Breast Cancer” day held Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena.

The Aggies improved to 18-7 overall and 6-5 against the Big 12, while Texas Tech fell to 14-11 and 2-9 versus. the Big 12. The victory was A&M’s fifth straight against the Lady Raiders, which extended the Aggies’ longest ever winning streak over Tech.

Starks connected on 12-of-19 shots, including 4-of-7 from three-point range as she edged her previous career-best by a point against the Lady Raiders. Her previous career high was 28 versus Florida State on Dec. 6, 2007. Junior Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) also hit double figures for the Aggies with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Starks’ offensive outburst was complemented by a suffocating defensive effort by the Aggies, who forced the Lady Raiders into committing 24 turnovers and allowing just six assists. Senior point guard A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) scored eight points to become the 20th player in school history to reach the 1,000-career point plateau. She also posted a game-high three steals as three other Aggies chipped in a pair of steals. A&M did a good job of protecting the ball with a team season-low eight turnovers offset by 15 assists.

The Aggies carried a 34-28 advantage into halftime, but extended their lead to double digits early in the second half when a three-pointer by freshman Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas) put A&M up by 12 with just over 13 minutes to go. The Aggies’ biggest lead of the game was 16 points with 1:35 remaining in regulation.

A&M donned specially-made pink uniforms provided by adidas for its breast cancer awareness “Think Pink” game. The athletic department will auction off four non-game used jerseys with one of the four autographed by the team and Coach Blair. To make a bid, click on the auctions link on www.AggieAthletics.com. All net proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

In addition, Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair will donate $3,245 to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund as 649 students came out for Sunday’s “Beat The Hell Outta Breast Cancer” game. He pledged $5 to the cancer fund for every A&M student in attendance.

Up next, the Aggies host Iowa State (16-8, 5-6) on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. prior to the second edition of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown with rival Texas (16-9, 4-7) on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. in Austin on ESPN2.

Postgame Notes…For the 10th time this season, Texas A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Patrice Reado and La Toya Micheaux (6-4)…Franklin recorded her 1,000th career point with her first of two free throw makes at the 9:49 minute mark of the first half…She became the 20th player in school history to record 1,000 career points (1,007) and the third-ever player to record 1,000 career points and 500 career assists (577) next to All-American Lisa Branch and Toccara Williams…Franklin joined senior Morenike Atunrase (1,165) and Starks (1,260) to become the second-ever 1,000-point single season career trio in school history next to Lisa Langston, Michelle Tatum and Jenni Edgar during the 1984-85 season…Starks scored a career-and season-high 29 points to mark her 16th 20-point game of her career…She turned in back-to-back 20-point outings versus the Lady Raiders with a game-high 22 points in a 63-46 victory in Lubbock on Feb. 2…Starks extended her career-best double-digit scoring streak to 30 consecutive games which dates back to the last six contests of the 2006-07 season...The Aggies turned in a season-low eight turnovers in the ballgame behind a five assist and two turnover performance by Franklin…She ended the game with eight points, five rebounds and three steals…Gant recorded a near double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds versus the Lady Raiders…With the victory, A&M claimed its fifth-straight victory and second-ever series sweep of Tech since the league’s inception in 1996-97…The Aggies shot 43.1 percent from the floor (25-58) to mark their 14th game of the season to shoot better than 40 percent…A season-high 5,056 fans helped A&M “Pink Out” Reed Arena before a nationally-televised audience on ESPN.

POSTGAME QUOTES

TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR

On the game and the strength of the league top-to-bottom …

“Home court across our league is just so important. Iowa State beating Oklahoma State today is a huge win. It just goes to show how good this league is. Let’s give Texas Tech a lot of credit for staying in the game. They just kept making shots. I thought (LaVonda) Henderson and (Dominic) Seals played very well for them. That’s the best I’ve seen of Henderson. She played very well off the dribble. They are just good ball players. We had to create shots off the dribble. Tech is going to be very good next year with all of their key players back. The key was our bench being able to weather the storm with (Patrice) Reado and (La Toya) Micheaux in foul trouble. We held on and did a good job. It was very similar to our previous ballgame (on Feb. 2), but the difference was the 22-0 run we had in Lubbock. But, we were more consistent in 40 minutes of play than we have been lately and we will take it.”

On the team’s upcoming home game versus Iowa State on Wednesday …

“I have so much respect for Coach (Bill) Fennelly. He beat us twice last year which cost us a huge seed in the NCAA Tournament and a conference championship with Oklahoma. They are just playing very well right now. He’s doing a tremendous job. They adjust to the personnel they have and I give them a lot of credit.”

On raising money for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund …

“I really would like to thank our students for coming out to the game and showing their support. We were able to help a lot of people today. I’ll never underestimate my students again, but I cannot think of a better cause. It’s always good when you can reach out and do your part.”

TEXAS A&M JUNIOR GUARD TAKIA STARKS

On the game and scoring a career-high 29 points against Texas Tech …

“The defense was on me tight, but I just had to shoot. Everything else was taking what the (Texas Tech) defense gave me. Normally, I don’t shoot that many threes. Today, I just had a great day. I don’t worry about the points, I’m just glad we got the win. Everything we did in today’s game was exciting and emotional. In our last game at Oklahoma, we didn’t play with much emotion. Whether we took a charge or got a steal, we kept the intensity within us. I thought the game was pretty close. Coach (Schaefer) was saying we had to put them away and get on a run and whoever was feeling it, we got them the ball. I’m just happy we showed our home crowd a good game.”

TEXAS A&M JUNIOR GUARD/FORWARD DANIELLE GANT

On the team’s offensive rebounds and limiting Texas Tech’s leading scorer Dominic Seals …

“In practice, Coach (Vic) Schaefer has us do a three-on-three drill with our practice players and we get after it on rebounding. I credit our practices to our offensive rebounding. At halftime, he wanted us to run (Dominic Seals) and not let her get any easy touches in the second half.”

TEXAS TECH HEAD COACH KRISTY CURRY

On the game …

“First off, I want to congratulate Coach Blair on career win No. 499 and wish him all the best for win No. 500. I loved how our players competed today. We are just fighting to get better everyday. Our goal is to be competitive, fight and claw and scratch and that’s the way it should be. We have to do a better job on the offensive glass. You have to give credit to Texas A&M. They have a great senior class and they do what a great senior class should do. The biggest key today was not taking care of the basketball. Our (24) turnovers were the biggest factor in the ballgame.”

On Takia Starks’ 29-point performance …

“We could have done a lot better than we did by not limiting (Takia) Starks. However, great players make big shots. She seemed to make them all day even with a hand in her face. We wanted to make her take contested shots, but we were giving her open looks and we have to do a better job.”

TEXAS TECH JUNIOR GUARD KEISHA WALKER

On staying in the game …

“We stayed pretty close. (Takia) Starks was shooting well all night and shifted the momentum their way. Maybe, we should have shot more threes. I don’t think the momentum was on their side, because I thought we had the momentum all game.”

TEXAS TECH JUNIOR FORWARD DOMINIC SEALS

On the difference in the game and A&M defensive pressure on her …

“We didn’t crash the offensive boards like they did. They were playing more physical than we were today, because of the lack of intensity we gave. They (A&M defense) started playing me hard and I tried to get back closer in the end.”


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