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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 take down Commodores in first round of SEC Tournament

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Photo by: A Nguyen

A&M women’s basketball team breaking out after the following lost against Mizzou (35-61) at Reed Arena on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

On the first day of March, Texas A&M lived by a phrase many say during this time of year, “survive and advance.”
In the first round of the SEC Tournament, the 13-seed Aggies staved off a late fourth-quarter comeback to take down the 12-seed Vanderbilt Commodores, 77-70. With the win, A&M will move on to the second round of the tournament where they are awaited by Mississippi State.
“We’re just continuing to grow,” coach Joni Taylor said. “We still have a lot of growth to do, but today we were clicking on all cylinders offensively.”
The maroon and white held a 69-55 lead at the media timeout with 4:45 left to play in the game. Sloppy play and turnovers from the Aggies out of the timeout led the Commodores to go on a 14-0 run, getting within 3 points and attempting to spoil the Aggies hopes of advancing.
Freshman guard Sydney Bowles, who finished the game with a career-high 22 points, hit a clutch 3-point basket with 1:59 left in the game to end the Vanderbilt run and increase the Aggie lead to 72-66.
On the ensuing possession, Vanderbilt sophomore forward Sacha Washington made a layup, but once more Bowles came up clutch for the Aggies, scoring a layup of her own on the next possession.
Despite the Commodores’ hot scoring down the stretch, they were unable to knock down the shots they needed within the last minute and their late-game comeback came up short.
The Aggies avenged their loss earlier in the season against the Commodores in which graduate guard Ciaja Harbison scored a career-high 41 points on route to a 88-79 victory. In Wednesday’s matchup, Harbison was limited to 16 points, shooting 6-for-15 from the field.
Bowles shot 6-for-12 from 3-point land in the game, crediting her teammates for finding her in open spots.
“The continued trust that my teammates and my coaches have had in me has just been really great, and it just kind of shined today,” Bowles said. “It was just really the trust of my teammates finding me in open spots and making the extra pass that really allowed for me to have that type of game tonight, so I’m just really appreciative of them, and how they just supported me throughout the whole season, not even just today.”
Playing in her final SEC Tournament, fifth-year forward Aaliyah Patty notched a double-double, shooting 6-for-9 from the field.
“It means a lot to be able to go out there and just do what I needed to do for the team, for the win, and for Joni [Taylor],” Patty said. “It just means a lot to be able to have that impact on the game tonight, and I’m grateful to be able to do that and just be put in positions where I can be effective on the floor.”
Much like Bowles, Patty gave credit to her performance to the people around her.
“Just having that trust that my teammates and Joni and all the other coaches have in me really helped me shine tonight as well,” Patty said.
Unlike most of the conference season for the Aggies, they held a lead early in the game rather than attempting a late-quarter comeback. A&M led by as much as 13 in the first half, before heading to the locker room for halftime on top 40-33.
“I think the entire season we’ve been really trying to focus on coming out and just kind of making an impact in the beginning and not waiting until the third and fourth quarter to finally go on a run,” Patty said. “That’s something that just us as teammates even in the warm-up we’re talking about so heavily. Just try to come out and make a run in the beginning and just having that type of fire and trust and support and togetherness on the floor … I think it showed very well tonight, so it’s gonna continue to be something that we continue to enforce just on a daily basis.”
There is much more on the line during postseason basketball, especially knowing that you have to win the conference tournament to continue playing, like the Aggies must do. For most of Taylors’ team, this is the first time they are playing in the SEC Tournament.
“It’s exciting,” Taylor said. “They’re like babies, they’re our babies, and so it’s a lot of teaching, it’s a lot of education of this is how this is gonna go, and this is what we’re going to do, and if this happens this is kind of where we want to be.”
Taylor said that several of her players said they didn’t sleep well the night before because they were so nervous about the upcoming game.
“I like the fact that they care enough to feel nervous and to have that type of anticipation, and so again, we’re gonna grow up this week while we’re here in Greenville and competing in the SEC Tournament,” Taylor said.
Another opportunity for growth will take place Thursday, March 2, as the Aggies look to advance once more, taking on the six-seed Mississippi State at 1 p.m.

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