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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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Women’s basketball press conference takeaways

Photo by Photo by: A Nguyen

Freshman G Sydney Bowles (00) pulls up with a floater in front of Freshman G Ashton Judd (24) at Reed Arena on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

With the Kentucky Wildcats coming into College Station for the final home game of the season, Texas A&M women’s basketball coach Joni Taylor, along with fifth-year forward Aaliyah Patty and junior guard Sahara Jones sat down with the media to discuss the upcoming game.
Here are some takeaways:
Final home game for two seniors
Thursday, Feb. 23, will mark the final home game for Patty and graduate guard McKinzie Green in the maroon and white. Green has been with the Aggies for four years now, starting in 13 games through her career. Patty transferred in from Ohio State and has started 47 games in her two year career in the maroon and white, averaging 7.1 points per game and reaching 1000 points for her entire college career.
“It’s very emotional and bittersweet, but everybody’s time comes to an end,” Patty said. “It’s just my time now and I’m excited for what’s next for me.”
Although not recruited to A&M by coach Taylor, both ladies have tried to do everything asked of them this season by the new coaching staff.
“Both of them have tried their best to do everything we’ve asked them to do, to not only lead this team, but to help this team and put team before self.” Taylor said. “We’re harder on them probably than a lot of other people because I do know that the real word is waiting for them, so shame on us if we don’t challenge them in that way and try to prepare them … Super proud of how they handled themselves this year and how they tried to do everything we’ve asked so we’re gonna miss them greatly.”
Searching for some offense
Defense has not been the problem this season for A&M as much as it has been scoring the basketball. The Aggies were limited to just 35 points in their last game – their second lowest amount of points in a game this season – on Monday, Feb. 20, against Missouri.
“I think we just keep putting up game-like shots in practice and we keep working on sharing the ball like we have and just trying to stay confident,” Patty said
The maroon and white lacked many transition points in the matchup against Missouri, something that Jones said the Aggies need to fix.
“We have to get out quicker in transition,” Jones said. “That way we can throw it up to [Aaliyah] Patty so she can get a wide open layup or go to [freshman guard Sydney Bowles] to get a wide open three or if that’s not open go into our post players.”
Taylor echoed that same message.
“We’ve got to be able to score some points before the defense can get back and get set,” Taylor said. “When you’re trying to play against a set defense all night long, it’s extremely difficult and so if we can get back to running a little bit more and taking opportunities to run and score in transition, those things will help us greatly.”
Taming the Wildcats
A&M will have one final chance in front of its home crowd at Reed Arena to send its fans home happy, facing a team that is struggling as much as they are. The Aggies are 1-13 in the SEC while Kentucky is 2-12.
“What I can tell you about Kentucky is that they play extremely, extremely hard,” Taylor said. “They are second in the league in steals per game and they’re really aggressive. Even though they’ve had their challenges, they play extremely hard. They’re very, very tough and three of their players are in the top 20 in our league in scoring so they got some individual players who can really get off and do some things.”
Taylor knows the challenges Kentucky will bring them and also what her team can do to be successful.
“What we’ve got to do, number one, is take care of the basketball and handle their pressure,” Taylor said. “We gotta be able to get open and not play on the perimeter all night long, meaning they have a tendency to pressure you so much where you’re running your offense further out than what you’d like to so we’ve got to be disciplined and making sure we catch the ball where we want to so we can be in scoring position to do some things to take care of the basketball and then we’ve got to be really good against their guards.”
The maroon and white will have their hands full with senior guard Robyn Benton who is averaging 16.5 points per game.
“Robyn Benton is an elite guard and once she gets going, she can score it in bunches and it’s really good,” Taylor said. “She’s a veteran player in this league, so we’ve got to be solid on both ends of the floor.”
The Aggies and Wildcats will face off at Reed Arena on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m.

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