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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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Aggies fall to Tennessee 70-60 in SEC quarterfinals

Williams+scored+20+points+and+grabbed+five+rebounds+Friday+against+Tennessee.
Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel

Williams scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds Friday against Tennessee.

Coming into the SEC tournament, No. 15 Texas A&M had aspirations of capturing the trophy or at least improving its seed for the NCAA tournament.
Neither scenario will likely come to fruition, as the Aggies (21-9) lost to Tennessee 70-60 on Friday night.
A&M shot a paltry 35.8 percent from the floor – including 28 percent in the first half – while the Tennessee duo of Diamond DeShields and Bashaara Graves combined to score 40 points and overpower the Aggies inside the paint and out on the perimeter.
“We played hard, just some shots we usually take [weren’t] really falling,” A&M senior forward Courtney Williams said in the postgame press conference. “I think we could have handled the pressure a little better, particularly the guards up front. We should have took care of the ball a little more.”
Graves was splendid all game long, setting an aggressive tone for the Lady Vols (19-12) from the opening tip. The senior forward finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds, thoroughly impressing Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair in the process.
“I thought Graves was the difference in the ballgame. She had her way inside. When we beat them at our place, she was coming off of injury and didn’t play as much as she normally does,” Blair said. “She’s the best doggone post player they’ve had in a while there. They need to just keep feeding her the ball.”
Williams’ 20 points led the way for the Aggies in the scoring department. It was the 17th game of her career to reach the 20-point mark, tying her for fifth place all time in school history.
“I was proud of C-Will today,” Blair said. “She did a good job. Hit some tough shots. That’s what she can do every night. I have to get her consistent. She was the only player we had that shot 50%.”
The senior trio of Williams, Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones was uncharacteristically sloppy against UT. The usually collected bunch made only 17-of-46 shot attempts and accounted for all 14 of the Aggies’ turnovers.
“To be a top-10 or top-five basketball team, in games like this we can’t turn the ball over against a team such as Tennessee, the way they’ve been playing,” Jones said. “Tennessee had a great game plan. They came out, forced the ball out of our hands. A couple times we got into hodgepodge offense that we didn’t want to, and that worked to their advantage.”
The Lady Vols got solid contributions from their bench with 24 points and capitalized on their trips to the charity stripe by converting 22-of-24 free throws.
Tennessee took a 30-27 lead into halftime, then proceeded to outscore the Aggies in both the third and fourth quarters to run away with the victory.
The Aggies will now return home and prepare for the NCAA tournament, while Tennessee moves on to the semifinal round against Mississippi State Saturday night.

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