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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Women’s basketball falls to Florida in first game of 2023

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Forward Jordyn Merritt (12) attempted to steal the ball from senior forward Aaliyah Patty (32) but was fouled before falling in the Aggies’ game against the Gators in Reed Arena on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

Aggie fans ushered in the new year by filing into Reed Arena to watch women’s basketball kick off the 2023 A&M athletic year with an early afternoon matchup against the Florida Gators.
Despite a hard-fought effort, the Aggies continued to miss the offensive production from their injured star freshman forward Janiah Barker, as A&M’s offense sputtered down the stretch and could not muster enough production to match Florida, falling to the Gators 55-48.
Both teams had to shake off the post-New Year’s rust early, as the lid was locked on both teams’ baskets in the first quarter.
A&M took the lead early with two baskets by graduate forward Aaliyah Patty, but the Aggies went cold from then on, going scoreless for over five minutes and allowing Florida to go on a 8-0 run before another basket from Patty would broke the drought, and A&M went into the second quarter down 10-8.
The second quarter was hotter offensively for both schools, with both teams shooting over 50% from the field. Despite the hot shooting performance, as well as A&M holding Florida 0-7 from beyond the arc, A&M went into halftime down five, 27-22.
The third quarter finally saw the Aggies get over the hump, as A&M outscored the Gators 14-6 with a Patty 3-pointer giving the Aggies a 36-33 lead, their first since early in the first quarter.
A&M’s lead would not last however, as its injury-stricken roster began to show signs of fatigue in the fourth. The Aggies went extended periods without a field goal, and could not match Florida’s production, being outscored 22-12 in the final quarter and falling to Gators 55-48.
“At the end of the game I told [our players] let’s hold on to what we did really, really well for three and a half quarters at the same time, we’re gonna be in a lot of close games,” coach Joni Taylor said. “And the fourth quarter, that last six minutes is really, really important and we’ve got to make sure when we’re tired, when we’re getting pressured, whatever that is, that we still can execute offensively.”
The Aggies’ defense managed to hold Florida to just 2-13 from the 3-point line, a season-low 15.4 shooting percentage for the Gators. A&M also held Florida to just two fast-break points for the game.
“I talk about all the time what a success looks like without a win,” Taylor said.” It didn’t come in a win, but we had a lot of successful moments in terms of the things that we measure. Being close within the rebounding war, not giving them fast break points, not letting them shoot the 3[-point line]. There were a lot of things that we talked about today that we needed to be able to measure that would be successful for us and we did that today.”
Florida dominated A&M in the paint, as 45 of its 55 points came from either in the paint or from the free-throw line. The Gators also out-rebounded the Aggies 33-27, including a 10-2 offensive rebounding margin in favor of Florida.
With this loss, A&M drops to 0-2 to start SEC play.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Taylor said. “It would have been really easy to come in here after playing on the road at South Carolina, feel sorry for ourselves, and not get anything done … It’s about showing up every day and how can we get better today than we were yesterday.”
The road does not get easier for the Aggies, as on Jan. 5, A&M will travel to Baton Rouge, La. to take on the No. 9 LSU Tigers before returning home to take on the Ole Miss Rebels at home on Jan. 8.

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