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No. 15 Kentucky Gets by No. 16 A&M, 83-74

February 23, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

Courtney Walker scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds but the 16th-ranked Aggies were unable to take down No. 15 Kentucky, falling 83-74 before a season-high crowd of over 7,343 at Reed Arena.

Walker tied her career-high in points and set a career-high in rebounds to notch her first career double double. She had her seventh 20+ point scoring game of the season and the 11th of her career.

Williams joined Walker in double figures, scoring 16 points. Both have been in double figures for five straight games.

The attendance of 7,343 was the 12th-largest crowd at Reed Arena for a women's game and the third crowd of 7,000+ the Aggies have hosted this year. Seven of the largest 26 crowds in Reed Arena history have come during the Aggies' two-year tenure in the SEC.

Kentucky (20-7, 8-6 SEC) had the best game of any Aggie opponent this season, scoring the most points (83) and grabbing the most rebounds (47) of any A&M opposition this year.

Down 25-17 with 7:38 left in the first half, Texas A&M (21-7, 11-3 SEC) rallied to take a 32-30 lead with 3:27 until the half. However, Kentucky responded with a 9-2 run to take a 39-34 halftime lead.

The Aggies hung around in the second half, but Kentucky had an answer for every A&M rally. The Aggies fought back from an nine point deficit with 4:59 to play to cut the lead to three points with 2:38 left, but the Wildcats again closed the half strong, finishing on an 8-2 kick to ice the game.

A&M lost for just the second time in 14 games at home this season, and fell for only the third time since Dec. 22. 


Postgame Quotes

Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair

Opening statement…

“First half, they played a whole lot harder than us and killed us on the boards. When I went to my bench, my bench couldn’t remember the offense they we were running and kept leaving us in a whole. Walker kept us in the ball game the first half. We weren’t getting anything out of any other player on the court. They shot layup after layup after layup and were getting to the whole with ease against our man to man defense. Why I didn’t switch to a zone? I don’t know. We were playing behind, and we had to force turnovers, but we didn’t do it. Second half, I thought we competed a lot better.”

“What we’ve got to do is just do a better job. I’m disappointed. I thought our team was finally ready for a moment type game. I thought every time we fought our way back in, [Kentucky] made some key shots, [Kentucky] was more ready to play.”

“I’m the head coach. Throw the errors at me. I’ve got to do a better job at coaching. We worked hard for this ball game. We worked hard to set ourselves up to have a chance to win this thing. Now what we’ve got to do is throw this game aside, learn from it, try to win our last two, get to the SEC Tournament and hopefully get hot and hopefully get smarter.” 

On second half-fouls…

“They played very smart. They moved the ball from side to side. When it came down to it, they knew how to attack. A zone defense gave us problems in the second half. When we were running man-to-man, we got in the lead. He switched to a zone; I didn’t.”

On Thursday’s last home game, Senior Day…

“We’re playing Arkansas. It better mean something. We lost on Senior Day last year to LSU. It should never ever happen on Senior Day. You honor those seniors. We will honor those seniors that played last year that didn’t come up with a win. They will be heavy in our hearts, along with Christina, Karla and Kristen who are our seniors this year.”

Closing thought...

“What we’ve got do is not win games, but get better when we’re playing games. Make the good decisions. We had a lot of good things happen in this game just like Kentucky did. But at the same time, you’ve got to finish it out. When you’re at home, you’re supposed to win. We needed to bring it home.”

Texas A&M Player Courtney Walker

On Kentucky’s 2-3 zone …

“They were just a little bit faster out of it. They rebounded well out of it.”

On her shooting…

“I feel like some of my shots in the second half were more wide open than the first half.”

On pursuing the championship title…

We had them on their heels, getting enough separation.

Texas A&M Player Jordan Jones

On reasons for loss…

“I feel like we did settle a little bit too much. Give credit to Kentucky though, because Karla has been scoring 20 points for the last three or four games. They really did a good job of taking her away and double teaming her inside the post so we weren’t able through the ball as much as we would have liked to. At the end of the day, it just comes to guards penetrating and making shots inside the lane. Kentucky was quick enough and fast enough to take away the paint from us which forced us to settle. They did their scouting, knowing we’re not a team that likes to shoot that many threes. They got us to settle doing that. Luckily Courtney was making shots in the first half to keep us in the game. Unfortunately, they weren’t falling for anybody in the second half.”

 

On Kentucky’s offense…

“I feel they did a very good job of attacking us when we were on our heels. It all ultimately started with us taking care of the ball on the offensive end which we didn’t do too well.”

“Ultimately when we had our opportunities, we just couldn’t come up with stops. They just kept on building their lead from our mistakes. We just have to buckle down and get stops in crucial moments like those.”

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

 

Opening statement…

“I am really proud of our players, they played a heck of a game today against a really good A&M team. They are so tough, well coached and a really good team. I am proud of our players for bouncing back from a real disappointment Thursday night. They worked extremely hard to get better Friday and Saturday and it paid off with a huge win here today.”

On 2-3 zone and defending A&M…

“Being able to play with some confidence on offense like we did today and really making a commitment to play great defense. The players worked really hard on the 2-3 zone. We had not played a lot of that and they worked really hard on it for the past two days and it paid off for us today. The way the games our going for us, teams seem to be getting into a rhythm so I thought we would let the players have a different look and give a different look. A&M really shot the ball great from three today, which is not really their strong suit on how they get it done. We just tried to make it tough for them to get points in the paint and that was a tremendous victory for us to have more points in the paint than they had. Really proud of our players, we haven’t played a lot of 2-3 zone all year and the players really did a great job with it.”

Kentucky Player DeNesha Stallworth

 

On A&M making runs…

“The big emphasis was sticking together when adversity hits and to not let that get to us on those runs. We just stuck together, we had our poise, ran our plays and had confidence throughout the game.””

On keeping A&M off the boards…

“There were three spots that coach put an emphasis on in practice and that was the top of the key and the two blocks. We knew if we secured that area that the rebounds will come to us. We just boxed out and secured those sections and got the rebound.”

Kentucky Player Linnae Harper

On coming into the road game and performing so well…

“I think it was my confidence, bouncing back from a loss and coming on the road, I think it was important for us to come together and play as a team. Doing the little things and grabbing all the rebounds and having poise. When everyone on the team brings energy, it helps us on offense and defense as well as transition on getting buckets and steals.”

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