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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Texas A&M women’s basketball ends losing streak with win against Arkansas

In the world of sports, a losing streak can oftentimes feel like drowning. Despite the strongest of efforts, you keep sinking deeper and deeper. And with the added pressure of expectant fans, it can feel as though the water has frozen over, making it harder to break through. But on one of the coldest nights of the year, Texas A&M women’s basketball broke the ice and reached the surface.
The arena was quiet, most fans staying home to avoid the frigid weather, but that didn’t faze the Aggies as they defeated the Razorbacks 77-64 on Thursday, Feb. 3. The win recorded coach Gary Blair’s 850th win of his career, leaving him 850-342 overall.
The maroon and white came out swinging in the first quarter with graduate guard Kayla Wells scoring 10 points with two shots from deep. The A&M defense held the Razorbacks to zero triples, despite Arkansas being one of the nation’s most prolific 3-point shooting teams. The quarter ended with a 23-14 lead for A&M, as the Aggies held an advantage over Arkansas on the glass.
Graduate guard Destiny Pitts said that A&M structured its strategy around Arkansas’ notorious strengths.
“I think we were locked into the game plan,” Pitts said. “We know Arkansas is known for 3-pointers and how they try to get to 50 points from the free-throw line, so we kind of keyed in on that. We knew if we could take those away, that we would have a really good chance to win the ballgame.”
In the second quarter, the Razorbacks opened with an 8-0 run, but it was quickly shut down when junior center Sydnee Roby buried her defender in the post, earning an easy point for the Aggies. The A&M offense quickly got back on track with the return of Pitts to the court after she left in the first quarter due to an injury. Pitts racked up five points and four rebounds to help the Aggies lead 39-30 into halftime.
As the second half began, A&M started out hot with four early points to push its lead to 13, but a 9-0 swing by the Razorbacks cut the lead short. However, with dominance on both ends of the court and an 11-point showing by Wells, the Aggies closed out the third quarter with a bang, leading 64-48 following a 21-9 run.
Overall, the A&M defense managed to hold Arkansas to its lowest 3-point percentage since the 2018-19 season at 17.4%. On offense, the maroon and white grabbed a season high 58 rebounds, proving that the battles on the glass can make or break a game. The combined efforts on both sides of the ball is what ultimately led to the Aggies’ victory: 77-64.
Persistence and determination can make all the difference within a team, Wells said.
“We were the same team; I just think we had a sense of urgency today,” Wells said. “Coach Blair stressed that, and we stressed that at practice these past few days. We are trying to get to the tournament because we’re hungry. We just have to keep that sense of urgency and energy and stick to the game plan like we’re supposed to.”
Wells led the offense going 10-for-23 from the field and matching a season-high of four triples for a total of 30 points. Pitts racked up a season-high 12 rebounds and scored 11 points, documenting a double-double. Senior forward Aaliyah Patty also collected a career-best 19 rebounds for the Aggies.
Blair said that as impressive as Wells’ performance was, there is always more to learn.
“[Kayla] Wells was pretty special,” Blair said. “We just kept telling her to score off the drive. They were not fouling her the majority of the time; she has to learn how to use the cushion and draw the foul more. We were not getting those driving fouls, so what we’ve got to do is do a better job of getting to the free-throw line once your 3-point shot dries up.”
The maroon and white take to the road to play the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday, Feb. 6.

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