Women’s Basketball Falls to Longhorns, 76-60
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Aliyah Matharu scored 26 points, draining five 3-pointers and leading the 15th-ranked Texas women past No. 17 Texas A&M 76-60 in the all-Lone Star version of the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Sunday.
The loss broke Texas A&M’s eight-game win streak and gave Longhorns coach Vic Schaefer a win in what is likely a final meeting with former boss Gary Blair, who announced he’s planning to retire after this season. Schaefer is 9-11 against his mentor.
Matharu finished one point off her season high. After the Aggies cut Texas’ double-digit lead down to six points near the end of the third quarter, Matharu closed out the period with a layup then opened the final frame with three straight baskets including a 3-pointer.
Rory Harmon added 18 points and nine assists for Texas (6-1). DeYona Gaston added 10 points and six rebounds before fouling out.
Texas broke the Aggies’ 24-game win streak in nonconference games, handing them a first such loss since Dec. 1, 2019.
Matharu started a 17-2 run with a free throw and a 3-pointer as Texas broke ahead over the last 5:23 of the first quarter. The Longhorns scored seven more unanswered to kick off the second quarter with a 14-point lead.
Sydnee Roby led the Aggies (8-1) with 16 points, Destiny Pitts added 14 and Kayla Wells 13.
Texas scored 32 points off 19 Aggies turnovers while committing only seven turnovers itself. The Aggies scored no points off Longhorn turnovers.
Texas A&M entertains Texas Southern on Thursday. The Longhorns next play visiting Idaho on Saturday.
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- Texas A&M drops to 8-1 to start the season.
- The Aggies are 24-63 all-time versus the Longhorns.
- Texas A&M made 84.6% of its free throws, going 11-for-13 from the charity stripe. This is the fifth time this season where the Aggies outperformed their opponents at the free-throw line, with Texas shooting 58.3% on its freebies.
- Texas A&M utilized a starting lineup of Destiny Pitts, Jordan Nixon, Kayla Wells, Aaliyah Patty and Sydnee Roby for the first time this season (0-1).
- This is the 29th most-attended game in program history, with 7,100 fans in attendance on Sunday afternoon Reed Arena.
- The attendance count was also the fifth-largest crowd versus Texas in Texas A&M women’s basketball history.
- Sydnee Roby led the Aggies in her first double-digit scoring game of the season, scoring a career-high 16 points, going 5-of-6 from the field.
- Kayla Wells has now played in 134 games for the Aggies, which is 10 games from breaking Karla Gilbert’s program record of 143.
- Destiny Pitts was one of the leading scorers, registering 14 points and drilling three 3-pointers.
- Wells had 13 points and has scored in double-digits in every game this year. She has now scored 10-or-more points in 74 games throughout her career.
- Aaliyah Patty recorded a career-high 13 rebounds. She is the first Aggie to haul in 13-or-more boards since N’dea Jones grabbed 14 against Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
- Women’s Basketball Hall-of-Fame head coach Gary Blair falls to 846-334 overall with a 438-171 record since arriving in Aggieland in 2003-04.
- Blair remains tied with men’s basketball coaching legend Shelby Metcalf for the most basketball victories at Texas A&M, notching the 438th victory during his Aggie tenure against Little Rock.
- Blair is now 11-9 versus his former assistant coach Vic Shaefer. Schaefer was an assistant under Blair for 15 years.
Head Coach Gary Blair
On the team’s performance…
“I told my team in there that if you would’ve told me we would be 8-1 at this point, I would’ve been the happiest person in the world. However, it is hard to be happy when you lose to a team on your court. Doesn’t matter what the rankings are, you’re supposed to be the favorite. Our crowd was the favorite today. Our students, we had 1,400 of them at the game and I was so proud that they may start coming back to see what this team is all about. I was proud because if we could have stayed in the moment, we would’ve tore this place down, but we didn’t. When the three ball is not going after Destiny made three of them, you have to find another way. We had four threes in the first half. They had four threes. The difference was that their inside game in the first half was better than ours. Second half, it changed a little because when I am behind, I have to go to four guards. But Vic (Schaefer) went to four guards to adjust to defending us right then. Maybe that stopped his inside play, but it sure didn’t stop them from running a lot of the same stuff we run except they ran it better.”
On becoming tougher as a team…
“They out played us between the ears at the point guard position today. (Rori) Harmon did a great job coming in and Jordan (Nixon) is going to learn from this. She is the heart and soul of this basketball team with what she does. They are able to play with contact and our kids have got to absorb contact instead of waiting for the little touch fouls.”
Graduate Kayla Wells
On improving defense…
“We weren’t where we were supposed to be. We have a gap defense, and no one was in the gap, everyone was hugged up. We need to do better with jumping to the ball and getting in those gaps so we can take those drives away.”
On takeaways from the game…
“When we’re trying to get back into the game, we can’t trade baskets with people because there will still be an even margin. We need to be just a little bit tougher; I feel that they were tougher than us today. They got all the loose balls; they got all the rebounds and that’s not acceptable.”
The Aggies host Texas Southern at 7 p.m. CT at Reed Arena on Thursday, Dec. 9.
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