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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

One of the Elite

Texas A&M’s women’s basketball team is entering uncharted waters in what has truly been a season of destiny.
The magical run took one more step on Sunday night as the Aggies defeated Duke, 77-63, in Oklahoma City. The victory carries A&M into the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
Junior Danielle Gant sat out the second half after suffering dehydration and taking in three bags of intravenous fluid in the locker room following the first half. She finished the night with eight points.
“Gant was playing out of sight like she always does,” said A&M Head Coach Gary Blair.
“She felt dizzy on the bench. I told [our trainer] if she’s dizzy, I’m sick.”
Senior Patrice Reado led all scorers with 17 points while junior Takia Starks added 15. Seniors Morenike Atunrase and A’Quonesia Franklin also contributed 13 points each.
The Aggies improve to 29-7 on the year and extend their current winning streak to 12 games. A&M has also won 16 of their last 17.
Blair had mentioned prior to tip-off that the Aggies would need to keep the score as low as possible to counter the Blue Devils’ high-powered offense. Duke, the No. 3 seed in the Oklahoma City regional, who ends their season with a 25-10 record, committed 19 turnover and never really found an offensive pattern against an A&M team that ranked first in the Big 12 in scoring defense.
“We had eight more turnovers than them in this game,” Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie said on ESPN. “That’s an enormous turnaround in offensive possibilities.”
Duke junior Chante Black led her team with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Aggies kept the Blue Devils cold from beyond the arc for nearly the entire game. Duke only found the bucket from three-point range three times all night and didn’t hit their first one until Jasime Thomas’ 3-pointer found its mark with 4:35 left in the second half.
“You’re never happy when your shot doesn’t fall,” Duke’s Abby Waner told ESPN. “It does get frustrating. Coach [McCallie] was right — we needed to go inside-out more.”
A&M shot 40 percent on field goal shooting for the night while the Blue Devils only hit 20 shots out of 53 attempts, good for 38 percent.
With Gant, an Oklahoma City native, down in the second half, players around her began to step up. Franklin had most of her points in the second half, including three 3-pointers to stretch the Aggie lead, and Reado had all of her 17 points with Gant on the bench, as well as eight rebounds.
“We just did a great job of scoring without Gant,” Franklin said.
“I was back there watching,” Gant said. “I’m just going to go back, take a shower and rest a little bit. Just get ready to practice tomorrow.”
As has been typical of A&M this postseason, the Aggies got in the heads of their opponent early, forcing Duke to commit 14 turnovers in the first half alone. The Blue Devils also started the game by missing their first seven shots.
“We didn’t come here to win just one ballgame,” Blair said. “We came here because we’ve earned the right. Duke is the best team we’ve played at putting the ball on the floor. I’m so happy for those seniors who believed in me first to say they want to come to Texas A&M.”
The victory pushes A&M to the edge of college basketball greatness, just one victory shy of advancing to the Final Four. The Aggies will play No. 1 seed Tennessee Tuesday night for a chance to reach the Final Four.

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