LUBBOCK, Texas – Four players scored in double figures as No. 23 Texas A&M knocked off Texas Tech for only its third-ever road victory in Lubbock, 63-46, Saturday night before a raucous crowd of 11,352 at United Spirit Arena.
Junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) registered a game-high 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while senior Morenike Atunrase (Shreveport, La.) added 13 and senior Patrice Reado (Houston, Texas) had 10. Junior Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) paced the Aggies on both ends of the floor with 12 points and 10 rebounds for her 10th career double-double.
Down by one at halftime, A&M (16-6, 4-4) used a second-half surge to cap a 22-0 run which ended with a three-pointer by Texas Tech’s Jordan Murphree with 11:50 remaining in regulation. Over the final 12 minutes, A&M outscored the Lady Raiders, 26-5.
The Aggies outhustled the Lady Raiders on the boards, 40-26 behind a career-high 14 rebound effort from junior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas) which included 13 on the defensive end. It marked a season-low for Texas Tech (14-7, 2-5) which was 20 rebounds below their league-leading average (46.0).
Tech’s top two scorers, Dominic Seals and Erin Myrick, were limited by A&M’s defensive pressure inside which held the duo to nine and six points respectively. Murphree was the only Lady Raider to score in double figures with 12.
The Aggies will enjoy its first bye week of the season in preparation for the first installment of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown versus rival Texas on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. The game will be televised live from Reed Arena on Fox Sports Net.
Postgame Notes… For the seventh time this season, A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Patrice Reado and La Toya Micheaux (4-3)…Gant recorded her 10th career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds…Micheaux grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and tied a season-high with four assists in 38 minutes of play against the Lady Raiders…It marked her second consecutive game to register double-digit boards…Franklin dished out seven assists with zero turnovers which marked the fourth time this season A&M’s floor general went without a miscue on the court…She recorded her fourth-straight 100+ assist season (103) to become only the third player in school history to do so…For the seventh time this year, the Aggies brought down 40-or-more rebounds in a contest (40)…Texas A&M picked up only its third-ever victory on the road at Texas Tech in 29 tries in the all-time series…It was Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair’s third-ever win against his alma mater in his extensive 23-year coaching career…He is now three wins away from his career 500th victory…Starks extended her double-digit scoring streak to 27 consecutive games with a season-best 22 points in league play versus Tech…It marked her fifth 20-point game of the season...A&M shot 46.4 percent for the ballgame which marked the sixth time year to shoot better than 46 percent from the floor…With the win, the Aggies claimed only its 12th overall win in the all-time series with Tech.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
On the game …
“Sometimes you can make an offensive run and sometimes you can make a defensive run. We made a defensive run for about three minutes on missed free throws and offensive boards. I thought our kids were warriors on the boards tonight. You are looking at one of the top rebounding teams in the conference. They went one and out on the zone. We don’t like playing zone, but sometimes you have to play to the other team’s weaknesses. We felt that if (Dominic) Seals got the ball inside, she would be tough. (La Toya) Micheaux was just a warrior in there. She controls the paint and sets the pancake screens that we get our shots off from. In the second half, they did a lot better job of guarding (Takia) Starks, because she kept us in the game in the first half. I thought we played too well to be down by one at the half. We are just a hard working team like we were last year. We can be very effective, if we can play that type of defense and get that timely offense in there.”
JUNIOR GUARD TAKIA STARKS
On the team’s comeback in the second half of play …
“Our 22-0 run can be contributed to our pressure defense. Every time they missed a shot, it was either (La Toya) Micheaux, (Danielle) Gant or all of us running and attacking the boards. I think that was a big deal in our comeback. We just pressured the ball, kept an eye on their shooters and just delivered in our offense.”
SENIOR GUARD/FORWARD MORENIKE ATUNRASE
On how big the win was for the team …
“It’s a great win for us to go back home with. We have a bye this week. We have a lot to work on and there’s always room for us to improve. It’s a great win for us leading into the Texas game next weekend.”