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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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Aggies drop double-overtime heartbreaker to Alabama

Senior+forward+Aaliyah+Patty%26%23160%3B%2832%29+achieved%26%23160%3Ba+double-double+with+11+points+and+12+rebounds+against+Alabama+on+Sunday%2C+Feb.+20.
Photo by Photos by Cameron Johnson

Senior forward Aaliyah Patty (32) achieved a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds against Alabama on Sunday, Feb. 20.

The Texas A&M women’s basketball’s contest against Alabama on Sunday, Feb. 20 was a seemingly perfect characterization of how its season has played out.
The Aggies couldn’t break their old habits, as a 12-point lead from a strong first half fell apart at Reed Arena. While the maroon and white managed to claw back to force double overtime, they couldn’t find an answer to the Crimson Tide’s clutch 3-point shooting, falling 79-81 on senior night.
Opposing come-from-behind victories are nothing new for the Aggies this season, having fallen to Florida, LSU and now Alabama in such a fashion.
“This one hurts, but they all hurt,” coach Gary Blair said. “Every game in conference hurts because we’re that close, but the confidence and the consistency are not there. We’ve got great character, great kids and great everything, so it starts with the teaching.”
Similarly, the course of the game mirrored the trajectory of the team’s season. The Aggies built up a 12-point lead, much like how they began the season at 10-2 overall. However, a potent Alabama offense forced the matchup into double overtime, when the Crimson Tide came out on top. Likewise, A&M opened conference play going 1-7 before a brief three-game win streak. The Aggies now find themselves on a three-game losing streak.
“No one is going to give you anything in the SEC,” Blair said. “You have to earn every play. This loss did not happen tonight. This loss happened in the first game we played against LSU, the first of the SEC season.”
The Aggies found success early on in the paint and on the glass, outrebounding the Crimson Tide 16-9 to earn nine second-chance points. Despite shooting just 14% from 3-point range, A&M ended the first quarter with a slight lead of 15-12.
This success continued into the second quarter, as the Aggies added 12 points in the paint and 14 rebounds. Additionally, a strong defensive effort that didn’t allow Alabama to score for nearly five minutes gave A&M a nine-point halftime lead.
Despite the lead, a 7-0 Alabama run to end the third quarter proved that the game was far from over, trimming the A&M lead to one of 42-41. The Aggies could only muster up 11 points, while Crimson Tide senior guards Megan Abrams and Brittany Davis put forth nine and eight points, respectively.
A 9-1 run by the Crimson Tide to begin the fourth quarter gave them their first lead of the game with 6:45 remaining, the score standing at 50-43. A&M would battle back with a run of their own to get back on top by one with 3:43 remaining. As the teams exchanged blows, Alabama used a clutch triple from Davis to lead 63-59 with 40 seconds left. Not giving up, graduate guard Destiny Pitts nailed two free throws to make it a one-possession game.
A wild sequence ensued as freshman guard Eriny Kindred then stole the Alabama inbound pass for an easy layup, tying the ballgame. However, Abrams then drove the ball to the basket, putting up a shot that bounced through the basket with 1.4 seconds remaining.
With the loss seemingly sealed for the Aggies, the team received a bit of the day’s Olsen magic as senior forward Aaliyah Patty was left wide open at the basket on the inbound play for an uncontested lay-in at the buzzer as the crowd erupted.
A&M received its miracle, but now they had to close out with a victory. It seemed as if this would be the case when the Aggies jumped out to a 72-67 lead with 1:26 remaining, but it only took the Crimson Tide 39 seconds to tie the game. Neither team could make the winning basket in the time remaining, forcing the contest into double overtime.
A&M held a 78-77 lead as late as with 1:43 remaining in double overtime, but another clutch 3-pointer from Davis gave the Crimson Tide a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. With three seconds remaining, the Aggies had a chance to shoot redshirt junior guard Jordan Nixon’s intentionally-missed free throw, but couldn’t get it to fall.
“The thing that hurt us in overtime was taking too long to get the info to our point guard who was using 15 seconds to start a play,” Blair said. “We have lost confidence in being able to start a play quicker and get into the offense. We need to play with a greater sense of urgency to get things done.”
Despite the loss, A&M bested the Crimson Tide from a statistical perspective, having an edge in bench points, total rebounds and blocks. Five players scored in the double figures for the Aggies, led by transfer guard Qadashah Hoppie with 16 points and graduate guard Kayla Wells with 15. Patty achieved a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Davis and Abrams were dominant for Alabama, finishing with 32 and 26 points, respectively. Junior guard JaMya Mingo-Young tallied a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Aggies return to the hardwood on Thursday, Feb. 24 to face the nation’s top team in the South Carolina Gamecocks. The contest also marks the last home game of Blair’s legendary 19-year A&M career and will feature a pregame dedication of the newly named Gary Blair Court. Tipoff at Reed Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.
Editor’s note: Jordan Nixon is an opinion writer for The Battalion.

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