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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Elite defeat

For nearly 34 minutes of basketball on Tuesday night, the Texas A&M women’s basketball team seemed to be on the verge of bringing thousands of Aggie national-title starved alumni, students and fans around the world to the brink of glory.
And then just like that, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and legendary head coach Pat Summit did what they do best. They found a way to win basketball games at the end
Tennessee junior Candace Parker fought through dislocating her shoulder twice and led the Volunteers in scoring with 26 points to push her team to a 53-45 victory in the Oklahoma City Regional final. Tennessee, the No. 1 seeded team in the region, advances to face LSU in a national semifinal game on Sunday.
The Aggies led by as many as five points with less than seven minutes to play before Tennessee turned up the heat on the A&M offense, forcing the Aggies into a critical five-minute scoring drought that finally ended with a free throw by junior Takia Starks with 1:18 to play.
“It was great defense by both teams,” said A&M Head Coach Gary Blair. “Their perimeter defense was a lot better than what we expected.”
Even with the scoring run by Tennessee, A&M found themselves trailing by only two points with 50 seconds left before Volunteer Alexis Hornbuckle drained a deep three-pointer to ice the game for the defending national champions.
A&M finishes the season with a record of 29-8. Last night’s defeat was the first loss suffered by the Aggies since dropping a decision to Oklahoma back on Feb. 12, nearly two months ago.
“I’m just so proud of this basketball team,” Blair said. “When you look at the eight schools that were left, this is the way it should be. There is parody and it’s coming. We need more Texas A&M’s out there.”
The Aggies were outscored 16-3 in the final 6:18 of the contest. The A&M defense did give Tennessee all they could handle though. The Volunteers’ 53-point performance is their lowest point total this season.
Starks led the Aggies with 12 points. Senior A’Quonesia Franklin added 11 while junior Danielle Gant contributed 10.
A&M started out red-hot from beyond the arc as they opened the game, hitting 5-of-7 from 3-point range. However, after that start they were only 1-of-12 to finish with a 32 percent shooting rate from long range. The Aggies were 17-of-54 overall on field goals, also good for 32 percent. Tennessee shot 46 percent from the floor and a solid 12-of-16 from the free-throw line.
With the close of the best season in school history, A&M will part ways with five seniors that hit the basketball court at Reed Arena over four years ago. Sporting the maroon and white for the final time were seniors Franklin, La Toya Gulley, Morenike Atunrase, who came off the bench to have four points in 21 minutes of action, Katy Pounds, and Patrice Reado who also had four points on the night.
“These seniors are so special,” Blair said. “They believed in us first. I want them to be successful in life. We had every intention to win this basketball game. We gave people around the country a new team to root for. It’s time to spread it around.”

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