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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Texas A&M shoots lights out in 90-65 victory over Arkansas

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Photo by Photo by Rachel Grant

Curtyce Knox amassed 15 assists in the Aggies’ win over Arkansas. 

Even though they actually did, it seemed as if Texas A&M couldn’t miss.

The Aggies (13-4, 3-1 SEC) shot lights out, going 66 percent from the field – narrowly missing the single-game shooting percentage school-record (66.7 percent) – on their way to a 90-65 rout of Arkansas (11-6, 0-4 SEC).

“It’s not what we shot, it’s the shot selection that we had,” A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “You can’t say it was the offense or the defense, it was just A&M tonight.”

It was also near-record nights for Khaalia Hillsman and Curtyce Knox as well. Hillsman led A&M in scoring and tied her career-high 25 points (11-of-13). Knox seemed to conduct the entire offense, tying a career-high 15 assists to just two turnovers.

Knox may have had her personal best had she not sat the final eight minutes of the game – the first time she had missed any action in conference play.

“Had I let Curtyce finish the game, she would’ve had the [single-game] school-record probably in assists [19], but we needed to rest her,” Blair said.

A&M’s success was in large part off the pass, as the team recorded 26 assists on 35 made field goals. Ten different Aggies also scored, with Danni Williams etching 20 (8-of-11).

“We shared the ball, moved it around,” Blair added. “That’s why you’ve got 26 assists and 14 turnovers.”

A&M started the third quarter 8-of-8 from the field, which helped double its halftime lead to 60-36 with 4:34 left in the period. For the quarter, the Aggies were 10-of-11 (91 percent) shooting, outscoring the Razorbacks 28-13 and pushed their lead to 68-41 heading to the final quarter.

Arkansas actually outscored A&M 24-22 in the fourth quarter, but its efforts were too little, too late.

“We got our tails kicked. Bottom line is: they beat us in every area,” Arkansas head coach Jimmy Dykes said. “It simply was not our night in any area.”

The loudest moment of the game may have been when walk-on and former Corps of Cadets commander Alyssa Michalke got into the final two minutes of the game – much to the approval of the large contingency of Corps members in attendance. Michalke didn’t attempt a shot, but was a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line, which caused a large roar from the A&M crowd.

“She knows she won’t play much, but she goes hard every day in practice, trying to make us better,” Williams said of Michalke. “Just seeing her being able to get in and enjoy it, it really puts a smile on our face.”

Hot shooting headlined the first half for A&M as well, going 18-of-29 (62 percent) from the field. The Aggies were strong off the dribble, recording 14 assists in the first 20 minutes – including 11 from Knox alone.

After missing their first two shots of the second quarter, the Aggies found their rhythm, sinking seven of their next eight attempts from the field which extended their lead to 38-22 with 3:33 remaining in the first half. A&M committed six turnovers in the final three and a half minutes, however, allowing Arkansas to slightly cut their lead to 12 at the break.

A&M had a strong start, making five of their first seven shots to give them an early 10-2 advantage at the six minute mark of the first quarter.

“We knew they were 0-3 – didn’t have anything to lose – so we knew they were going to come out excited and fired up,” Hillsman said. “We really wanted to put the hammer on them early.”

The Aggies would hit a cold spell, however, only making one of their next five shots as Arkansas cut their lead to 12-9 at the 2:47 mark. A&M responded to the tightened gap with a 9-2 run, but Malica Monk drained a half-court shot for the Razorbacks at the buzzer trimming A&M’s advantage to 21-14 after the first ten minutes of play.

A&M’s lopsided win was key, but now the Aggies head back on the road for a two-game stretch beginning with Florida this Sunday in hopes that their momentum can carry on moving forward.

“It definitely puts us in the positive direction that we need to go in,” Hillsman concluded. “If we would have struggled, it wouldn’t have helped our confidence for the next game, so I really think it’ll help us having a good mentality coming into the next game.”

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