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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies slip by Florida in Breast Cancer Awareness Game

With+four+games+left+in+the+2017-2018+regular+season%2C+No.+17+A%26amp%3BM+hosts+Florida.
Photo by Photo by Cristian Aguirre

With four games left in the 2017-2018 regular season, No. 17 A&M hosts Florida.

In a tight race that was decided in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the No. 17 Texas A&M women’s basketball team (20-7, 9-4 SEC) defeated the Florida Gators (10-16, 2-11 SEC) 85-80 on Thursday during A&M’s annual BTHO Breast Cancer game at Reed Arena. 
Head coach Gary Blair said that he was pleased with the poise his players had tonight, but warned that they are not good enough to look over a team, such as Florida, while playing teams in the SEC. 
“When you can win a ballgame and not play your best, I think it says a lot for this team. We knew this was a trap game coming off the heartbreaking loss to LSU and no matter what you say to the kids they’re looking forward to Mississippi State. But we’re not good enough to look past anyone, particularly in the SEC.” Blair said. 
The first quarter was a back-and-forth twist of power between the two teams with neither of them securing a dominant lead. Khaalia Hillsman and Chennedy Carter started off the game with a layup and three-pointer adding to their biggest lead of the first half, at 3-7. 
For the rest of the quarter the two teams battled head to head. However, in the last minute of play, Carter blocked Florida’s Jalaysha Thomas and traveled down the court to make a jump shot for the Aggies. With only seconds to spare, the Gators ran down the court allowing Delicia Washington to make a three-point shot on the buzzer to put them in the lead 21-20. 
Florida carried this excitement into the second quarter and made sure the Aggies never caught up. Senior, Haley Lorenzen and redshirt junior, Funda Nakkasoglu led the Gators in this quarter finishing the first half with 25 combined points. Lorenzen scored three jump shots early on and advanced the score to 27-24. Nakkasoglu would close out the half with a three-pointer and give the Gators a six-point cushion going into halftime. 
Coming into the third quarter down 43-37, the Aggies showed the same aggression that was seen towards the end of the second when they tried to close the gap. Junior, Danni Williams made a big three-point shot for the Aggies and two free throws moving them within three points of the Gators. 
Anriel Howard and Carter also showed their scoring abilities, helping the team raise to their first lead of the second half at 50-49. However, with an abundant number of fouls and three-pointers, the Aggies were unable to keep their hold on Florida and ended the quarter down by one shot. 
Tensions seemed to rise in the final quarter, as every steal, foul, and shot seemed worth more to the Aggies and the 12th man. The crowd was fired up and their excitement was relayed onto the A&M players. With two free throws by Carter and one by Howard, the Aggies moved to 67-65 keeping the deficit within one shot. 
Freshman, Chennedy Carter said that her teammates and coach gave her the confidence in the fourth quarter and from there she was able to use what her defense was giving her. 
“I took what the defense was giving me. I was knocking out shots the whole fourth quarter and I felt pretty confident.” Carter said. “My teammates kept the confidence in me. My coach told me to shoot if I was open. I knew that the paint was clogged and they were trying to box the one or triangulate to us, so I came off the skin and look for my shot.” 
Free throws kept coming for the Aggies, as a number of fouls by the Gators seemed to be just what they needed to gain a strong lead. Now at 77-74, the last minute of play would become the deciding moment for either team. A three-pointer by Carter would soon follow and was met by another three-pointer by Florida’s Paulina Hersler immediately afterwards. With the score now at 80-77, Hillsman would come up to the free throw line and score A&M two more points. This would ultimately give the Aggies the lead they needed to win the battle over Florida 85-80. 
Head coach for the Gators, Cameron Newbauer, said that despite the outcome in the tonight’s game he couldn’t be prouder of his team and the fight they displayed today. 
“[We] did so many things so well.” Newbauer said. “Couldn’t be more proud of our team Funda [Nakkasoglu] playing 40 minutes, Dyandria [Anderson] playing 37 minutes, Paulina [Hersler] and Haley [Lorenzen] playing 34 and 35 minutes. Incredible team effort. I love this group because of how hard they play and the fight that they display every single day.”
A&M will travel to Starkville, Miss. to take on Mississippi State at the Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday. Tipoff is set to start at 4 p.m.

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