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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 defense hands Tennessee first SEC loss

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  • Graduate G Endyia Rogers (1) sets up the offense during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Senior G Aicha Coulibaly (5) attempts a layup during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Sophomore F Janiah Barker (2) drives past a defender during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Junior F Lauren Ware (32) gets blocked by Tennessee defender Jillian Hollingshead (53) during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Graduate G Endyia Rogers (1) shoots a floater during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Junior G Tineya Hylton (3) makes a layup during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Sophomore F Janiah Barker (2) gets fouled while attempting a layup during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Senior G Aicha Coulibaly (5) makes an and-1 layup during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • The Aggies help up senior G Aicha Coulibaly (5) after getting fouled during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Sophomore F Janiah Barker (2) takes a contested jump shot during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Senior G Kay Kay Green (4) dribbles up the court during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Sophomore F Janiah Barker (2) gets an offnesive rebound during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Junior F Lauren Ware (32) attempts a jump shot over a Tennessee defender during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Head Coach Joni Taylor talks to sophomore F Janiah Barker (2) between free throws during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Head Coach Joni Taylor reacts to a foul call during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Head Coach Joni Taylor and Assistant Head Coach Chelsea Newton react to a foul call during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Sophomore F Janiah Barker (2) and Senior G Aicha Coulibaly (5) celebrate after a made three during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

  • Junior F Lauren Ware (32) blocks a shot during A&M’s game against Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

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Senior guard Sahara Jones entered Texas A&M women’s basketball’s game against Tennessee shooting 1-23 from three this season. 

With 3:52 left in the first quarter, Jones calmly took a pass from junior forward Lauren Ware on the left wing and sank a 3-pointer to complete a run of four consecutive shots on the way to a season-high 15 points as the Aggies defeated the Tennessee Lady Volunteers 71-56 in Reed Arena on Jan. 14. 

“She did the same thing she does every single game,” A&M coach Joni Taylor said. “The ball went in the hole for her tonight.”

A 12-2 A&M run to end the first half had Aggie fans feeling confident with a 36-22 halftime lead — but not Taylor. 

“Tennessee is a second-half team,” Taylor said. “If you look at any of their games they’ve played, they’ve been down 12, they’ve been down 14, even 16, and they’ve come back and they’ve won every single one of them.”

But the dreaded comeback never came, thanks to the work of the Aggie defense — a unit that held the Lady Vols to a season-low 56 points.

“There’s just not a lot of easy opportunities you have to score on them,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper said. “And they’ve got good size or good athleticism to be able to make those things difficult for you.”

A&M was able to rely on its consistent strengths this year, including scoring close to the basket and crashing the boards. The Aggies entered the day ranked third in the country in rebounds per game, and outrebounded the Lady Vols 43-34. 

“We have to be who we are,” Taylor said. “We are a team that defends at a high level, that runs, that rebounds, and has got to have paint points. That is who we are.”

While Jones had 9 points in the first quarter alone, it was senior G Aicha Coulibaly who joined the party with a steal-and-score bucket that launched her own nine-point second quarter. Coulibaly led all scorers with 19 points in the win, and added three steals along the way.

“I just knew everything they were trying to do,” Coulibaly said. “I just sneak it in and just act like I don’t see the ball, just feel it. And it worked out today, thank God.”

A&M sits at 2-2 in SEC play, and has a week to prepare before hosting No. 1 South Carolina at Reed Arena on Sunday, Jan. 21. For the Aggies, the approach is still the same. 

“I don’t believe we feel any pressure after we lose or we win,” Jones said. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board. We’re going to watch film on Tennessee. We’re going to watch film on South Carolina. And we’re going to just go in there and prepare and do our best.”

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About the Contributor
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and BCSball.com. 
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