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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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Destiny Pitts’ season-high 20 points ushers A&M’s comeback victory over Kentucky

Basketball is a game of runs. Momentum jumps from side to side at a whim, assisting teams into bouts of points that shifts control from squad to squad. It’s not unusual for teams to go on runs of double digits, and multiple lead changes are expected in a game.
So when Texas A&M women’s basketball held the Kentucky Wildcats to just six points in the second quarter, going scoreless for seven and a half minutes, the Aggies put themselves into prime position to take control of the game and put the Wildcats away.
Instead, the Aggies only scored five points themselves.
Then the run happened.
Down 12 at halftime on Sunday, Feb. 6, the Aggies emerged from the visitors’ locker room with ambition and took to the hardwood with purpose. A&M held Kentucky under 10 points for the second straight quarter, outscoring the Wildcats by a margin of 19-9.
With the game within one possession, a back-and-forth affair began. After four lead changes in six minutes, the Aggies were down two points with 36 seconds remaining. Graduate guard Destiny Pitts dished the ball to junior center Sydnee Roby, and as time winded down, she tied the game up at 55 apiece with 29 seconds to go. Both teams failed to score, and the game bled into overtime.
As the fifth period of play commenced, the Aggies had all the momentum, and the game remained in their favor. A&M outscored Kentucky 18-9 in the final minutes of action to secure the team’s first back-to-back wins in over two months.
“This is like after your kids have screwed up at home, and you have got to give some tough love and some discipline. That is what we had to do,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “[The Wildcats] only scored six points in the second quarter, even though we only scored five. It allowed us to get back in the game. But discipline, tough love has to work sometimes. Win or lose, you got to love after loss, before loss and everything.”
Only six Aggies scored in the contest, but three of them scored in double digits, including Pitts who recorded a season-high 20 points. She added nine rebounds and six assists for good measure, but her play down the stretch made the difference for the Aggies.
“Personally, I really liked our composure and execution,” Pitts said. “When we got to 36 seconds, when we got the basket and then we got the stop defensively, I knew from then if it went to overtime that we were going to win the game because we were not allowing Rhyne [Howard] to take the shot.”
Howard, Kentucky’s senior guard, had been the toughest task for the Aggies during the game, scoring a team-high 19 points and grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.
“She is a really skilled scorer, and she has a lot of height,” A&M graduate guard Kayla Wells said. “It is really hard to guard, especially coming off screens and all the screens they give her. We just wanted to slow her down. We wanted anybody else but her to beat us. I think we really did a good job, especially in overtime, of getting the ball out of her hands and keeping it out of her hands.”
With big performances from graduate guard Qadashah Hoppie and junior guard Jordan Nixon, 17 and 16 points, respectively, on offense and key moments of stout team defense, A&M can look ahead to its upcoming matchups with newfound optimism.
The team will get its chance to extend its win streak to three against the Vanderbilt Commodores in a rescheduled bout. The game will take place in College Station on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Jordan Nixon is an opinion writer for The Battalion

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