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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No. 23 Women’s basketball loses to No. 3 Mississippi State in tight match up

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Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel

Senior guard Curtyce Knox finished the game 19 points, eights assists, and three steals. 

Despite being perfect on three point shots, the No. 23 Aggie women’s basketball team couldn’t get one off in the final possession, as they let a potential upset slip away to No. 3 Mississippi State 72-67, at Reed Arena.  

With the Aggies (19-8, 9-5 SEC) down three with 23 seconds to play, Curtyce Knox was forced to pull up for a two-pointer due to the Bulldog’s defense and a miscommunication.

Knox’s shot went wide before Mississippi State (27-1, 13-1 SEC) got the rebound and A&M was forced to foul. The Bulldogs made the ensuing free throws with three seconds left to put the game out of reach.  

The Aggies ran the wrong play on the final two possessions and Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said he is to blame for the miscue.

“We ran the wrong play on the last two possessions,” Blair said. “When I went for the three at the end, both of my post players were in the wrong position… it’s hard to run a play when we’re mentally having that much problems upstairs. That’s my job — end of game situations, that my team is going to execute down the stretch. We’ve done it all year — we didn’t do it tonight.”

Before the final possession, both teams traded points on long runs throughout the entirety of the game. The biggest came from the Aggies in the third quarter, after they fought to tie the game at 30 a piece going into the half.

Following the end of the first half, guard Danni Williams and forward Taylor Cooper both contributed to the Aggies perfect night from behind the three point line. Williams made three shots while Cooper drained two three-pointers. Overall, A&M finished 7-7 from behind the arc on the night.

Guard Curtyce Knox helped give the team the 55-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter by going 9-9 from the free throw line. By the end of the third quarter, A&M had gone on a 14-2 run.

Williams said she has to tip her hat to the Bulldogs, who were able to stay in the game despite being down seven early in the final quarter.

“We got to give a lot of credit to them, because down the stretch we had a seven point lead and they just had more poise than us,” Williams said. “So, that part’s definitely frustrating to know that we were that close and didn’t close it out. We just have to take it as a learning experience and hopefully we’ll get them back in the tournament.”

Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer had high praise for Knox and the rest of the Aggies after his team’s win.
“Talk about competitive spirit — Curtyce Knox, such a competitive kid,” Schaefer said. “I don’t know who else is out there, but I’m not trading my point guard Morgan or Jazz for anybody, but she’s got to be one of the top two or three point guards in the country.They’re really good…I think they [A&M] can do a lot of damage in post season. I certainly don’t want to play them again — we’ve had two knock down, drag outs with them.”

Four Aggies scored in the double digits tonight, with Williams leading the team on offense with 23 points, followed by Knox with 19.  Despite having a solid night on offense, Knox had a few turnovers in the fourth quarter, leading to points for the Bulldogs. The team finished the game with eight giveaways.

“I just think we could’ve taken care of the ball better even though we only had eight turnovers against their great defense,” Knox said.

Victoria Vivians lead the Bulldogs on offense, scoring 25 points and going 10-11 from the free throw line.

After Subday’s loss, the Aggies now slide down to a fourth place tie in the conference after Mizzou upset No. 6 South Carolina earlier today. Coming into today’s game, A&M held a fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament according a bracket done by ESPN’s Charlie Creme.
The maroon and white will return to action Feb. 23 when they host South Carolina. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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