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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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A&M closes out regular season home schedule with a win

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Graduate F Aaliyah Patty (32) guards Senior F Hayley Frank (43) at Reed Arena on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

Despite a disappointing season for Texas A&M women’s basketball, it was able to close out its home schedule on top and send fans at Reed Arena home happy and hopeful for the future. 

The Aggies played host to Kentucky in their final home tune-up, taking down the Wildcats, 74-67, on Thursday, Feb. 23. A&M played team basketball all night with double-doubles from junior guard Kay Kay Green, junior guard Sahara Jones and graduate forward Aaliyah Patty. 

“I think they came out determined and the biggest thing was, I thought our pace was really good at some of the things that we did,” coach Joni Taylor said. “One of our goals was to get out from scoring transition and we were able to do that as well … Just really proud of how we shared the ball and I thought for the first time in a long time we actually put four quarters together.” 

For two players in the maroon and white, the last home game of the regular season marked their final home games as Aggies. Senior guard McKinzie Green, the longest tenured Aggie on the roster, played just under 12 minutes in her final home game. Patty, who was recognized before the game for reaching 1,000 career points, played just under 30 minutes, scoring 12 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. 

“It’s really special to be surrounded by the 12th Man and finish strong in Aggieland and Reed Arena,” Patty said. “Just being able to share this moment with my teammates and my coaches and my family here is something very, very special for me.” 

Not only will the maroon and white miss the production Patty provides on the court, her teammates will miss the leadership that she provides. 

“[Aaliyah] Patty has meant a lot to us for this team, she’s our leader,” Jones said. “She always helps us when we’re out on the floor…She’s just been a great asset to the team ever since she stepped on the floor here so we’re happy that we got her a win for her last game here at Reed Arena and we can’t wait for what’s to come for her.” 

Kay Kay Green, who said she has known Patty for a while now, had many great things to say about Patty as well. 

“It’s just special seeing [Aaliyah] Patty grow and become into this amazing person,” Green said. “[Aaliyah] Patty is a great person and you’re always gonna get the same [Aaliyah] Pat[ty] every time. She extends her heart to everybody, so I’m really going to miss her and her leadership.” 

Luckily for Aggie fans, they got to watch one more game for Patty in the maroon and white and she played a big role in the win.

The first quarter was back-and-forth all throughout, but A&M was able to grab a 21-16 lead just as the buzzer sounded when Patty knocked down a three, igniting the crowd at Reed Arena. 

Kentucky quickly erased that lead to start the second quarter, going on a 5-0 run and tying the game at 21-all. Freshman forward Janiah Barker responded herself, by scoring 8 points in the second quarter, increasing the A&M lead to as much as 10 points. The Wildcats called a timeout with 1:32 left and came out of it with some much needed baskets, sending the Aggies to the locker room up 36-30. 

A&M has struggled to keep late game leads in many games throughout the season, something Taylor spoke to her team about at the half. 

“We just had a nice conversation about how we want to finish and making sure again, we don’t have three [or] four possessions that allow us to relinquish the lead or put ourselves in a bad position,” Taylor said. 

Taylor’s message at halftime must have worked, because the Aggies never fell behind again, only allowing Kentucky to get within 5 points once with 3:28 left in the third quarter. 

“I think we were consistent in offensive rebounding the basketball, we were consistent in our zone and we executed,” Taylor said. “We didn’t let them speed us up and I think in the past in those moments, we’ve been sped up and we haven’t made good decisions and our decision-making down the stretch was pretty good tonight.” 

A&M did a good job scoring down the stretch and, from a viewer’s perspective, the game never felt in doubt throughout the fourth quarter. The players on the Aggie team will tell you they didn’t think the game was in their hands until they were dribbling up the court for the final 10 seconds. 

“They [Kentucky] were scoring almost every time they came down the floor,” Patty said. “In the huddle, I just kept saying this game is not over, we [have] got to close it out. We haven’t been good at closing out games so we couldn’t let up in the end and, truthfully, it was never over until about that 10-second mark when we brought it to half court and was dribbling it out.” 

The final buzzer sounded with the Aggies on top for just the second time in conference play this season. They improved to 7-18 on the season and 2-13 in the conference while Kentucky fell to 10-17 and 2-13 in conference. 

“I’m really proud again of how we’ve continued to fight and get better and grow this year,” Taylor said. “This could have ended a totally different way and just credit our players and our coaches for continuing to come out every day and put us in the best position to be successful.” 

A&M will have one last regular season tune-up before traveling to Greenville, S.C. for the SEC Tournament as it goes on the road to face Arkansas on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11 a.m.

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