COLLEGE STATION- No. 17 Texas A&M fell victim to cold shooting as No. 11 Tennessee defeated the Aggies 76-55 in front of a crowd of 7,207 at Reed Arena. The Aggies are now tied with South Carolina for first place in the SEC Standings, and hold the tiebreaker over the Gamecocks.
The loss snaps the Aggies’ nine game home winning streak and 10 game home game winning streak. A&M had also won three consecutive games against ranked opponents entering this game.
Texas A&M had more shot attempts, assists, blocks and steals, plus fewer turnovers, but Tennessee out-shot the Aggies 54.1% to 33.8% to create the difference in the game.
Texas A&M (16-5, 6-1 SEC) missed its first seven shots, which allowed Tennessee (16-5, 5-2 SEC) to take a 8-0 lead. The Lady Vols shot 53.1% in the first half which lead to a 36-20 Tennessee halftime lead.
The Aggies improved their shooting to 38.2% in the second half, up from 29.4% in the first half, but were still outscored 40-35 in the frame.
The Lady Vols were led by Cibolo native Meighan Simmons, who scored 26 points.
The attendance was the Aggies’ largest of the season, and the 15th-largest for any women’s game at Reed Arena.
Courtney Walker led the Aggies with 20 points, marking her second straight 20+ point game.
Karla Gilbert had 14 points and 11 rebounds for her fourth career double double. Gilbert and Walker were joined in double figures by Courtney Williams, who had 14 points.
The Aggies take to the road to face Auburn at 6 p.m. on Jan. 30, the first of a two-game road trip. Texas A&M returns home on Feb. 9 to host LSU at 1:30 p.m. in the annual BTHO Breast Cancer game.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“We got beat by the better team today. They acted like they were a top-ten team, number five in the country. The key was their guard pay. Their bigs were good but their guard play- [Tennesse guard Andraya] Carter was exceptional at the point. She did a great job of running the show for forty minutes. I guarantee you [Tennessee point-guard Ariel] Massengale will get well in a hurry before the next game. But give Carter so much credit.”
On their offensive attack
“Our man was just not very good, and they had so many open holes. Their athletes were just taking it to the rack and they were just scoring very easily. That is how you get 54%.”
On zone defense
“You have to have transition. 17-0 on fast break. That has never happened ever on my career. There is no excuse for it.”
“No matter how many inches you got in the story, it should be about Tennessee, how well they played, what they did. The story should also be about what the game was all about: We Back Pat. Games come and go, but Pat Summit has meant more to this game than any other one person in the game, present or past.”
Texas A&M Guard Courtney Walker
On Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons…
“She was a quick player. She makes quick moves. She cuts hard. She finishes really tough shots. [So far I do feel she is the best perimeter player I have faced.”
Texas A&M Guard Jordan Jones
On their slow start…
“Really, we had great looks, they just were not falling, and sometimes the ball just does not bounce our way. Tonight, it did not. I felt like we settled a little bit. We gave the Tennessee zone exactly what they wanted to do to us which was make us settle on the outside perimeter and take jump shots.”
On Tennessee guard Andraya Carter…
“I feel like she did a pretty good job of running her team. Being a back-up to an All-American, Ariel Massengale, I think she did it. Ariel is more of a facilitator. Andraya looked more to attack, and she is very quick and has nice handle with the ball. Really, it was trying to keep her in front and let her score so easily. But with a player like that and team of Tennessee’s caliber, they are all almost all-American so you just have to do what you have to do.”
On the feel of the game...
“I feel like they came on, had something to prove, and they got it. But if we see them again, it’ll be a different story.”
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH HOLLY WARLICK
“It was a great effort by our team. We played solid team basketball. We really worked on that. I was really proud of our team, Meighan Simmons in particular. She played within her game and didn’t force shots. She had some great assists. Andraya Carter got the start tonight and played all 40 minutes. I think you see the depth of our team. We followed the game plan. When we follow the game plan, we get the job done and that’s what they did. They played Tennessee basketball today.”
On Andraya Carter’s performance…
“We challenged Andraya Carter. I think she’s learned from Ariel. It was her team tonight. She had to run the team and she had to do some things she doesn’t normally do. She was solid. You see the type of player she can be when she gets that kind of opportunity. She ran the ball when we wanted her to run. She held the ball when we needed her to work the clock. I think at times being a point guard here can be overwhelming. I think we’ve put her through some tough situations in practice. I’m proud of her performance today.”
TENNESSEE GUARD MEIGHAN SIMMONS
On her performance…
“I just thank God for the opportunity to come out and play the game that I love. It’s not about me. I was out there for one of my teammates that couldn’t be here. We all stepped up to the plate. I’m very proud of Andraya coming out and performing the way that she did despite the crazy position she was put in. Everybody stepped up like I said. When we go out there and perform as a team we have more fun; the game is more fun. We have a lot more energy. I’m proud of how our team played.”
On the team’s shot selection…
“I was really pleased with how well we shot the ball today. We had 38 points in the paint which were high percentage shots. I was very pleased with our teams ability to find good shots.”
TENNESSEE GUARD ANDRAYA CARTER
On making the start…
“I was a little nervous at first. I just leaned on my teammates and coaches. I heard from every angle that everyone had confidence in me. I was nervous. I was anxious for it. My teammates had full confidence in me. It’s hard to be nervous when you have such a great support system around you.”
On what helped her on the court…
“When I start thinking out there too much, that’s when I start to play timid or when I’m not at my best. When I’m trying to be an energy spark for this team and just trying to make plays is when I play my best. I think when I’m focusing on that is when I play my best. It’s just a game because that’s what it is.”