NASHVILLE- Vanderbilt’s Morgan Batey hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to give No. 16 Vanderbilt a 71-69 win over No. 17 Texas A&M at Memorial Gym. Karla Gilbert led the Aggies with a career-high 26 points.
Tavarsha Scott-Williams had a career-high with 14 points off of 7-7 shooting from the field and had a career-high nine rebounds.
Gilbert’s 26 points marked her first career 20+ point game and she added in 11 rebounds for her fifth double double of the season.
The Aggies missed their first 11 shots from the field, but were able to shoot 50% for the remainder of the half, to only trail 30-23 at halftime.
With Vanderbilt (17-5, 6-3 SEC) leading 39-31, the Aggies went on an 11-0 run to take the lead midway through the first half. The Aggies and Commodores exchanged the lead six times and were tied four times in the second half.
Texas A&M (17-6, 7-2 SEC) was down three with 10.2 seconds to play, but Karla Gilbert hit a layup and got fouled, hitting the free throw to tie the game at 69. Vanderbilt went to the line with 2.2 seconds remaining, and Batey hit both free throws to win the game.
The Aggies return to action at Reed Arena on Sunday, February 9 at 1:30 p.m. to host LSU in the annual BTHO Breast Cancer game.
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“I think you got to see a wonderful basketball game. Give Vanderbilt a lot of credit. They were not able to stop Karla. They did it with about three players in there, because the way our outside people played all we had was an inside game.
“We’ve got to become a smarter basketball team if we’re even going to think about winning the SEC. We had won four straight on the road with a couple good ones at LSU and Georgia. We thought coming in here this would be difficult—it’s always been difficult for me here, at Arkansas, wherever.
“Their advantage works really well. It’s a great venue with a great basketball town.
“I was proud of Karla. That’s a way a senior is supposed to play.
“We allowed a team to shoot fifty-five percent. On the last drive, yep, we fouled. She made the two free throws. Ballgame. Give her (Karla) credit for making the three point play on the other end.
“I’m very proud of my team, but my hair is getting to be gray. I’ve got to teach better for us to execute better. It doesn’t matter who has the most talented team. It’s about who plays within their framework of what they are trying to do... we’re an undisciplined team in crisis management time. Don’t you think I want my best three point shooter to be on the receiving end of a pass in with two seconds to go? That’s how far we have to go.”
On the use of Karla Gilbert:
“When your starters go 3-11, 1-7, 0-6, that’s a big time problem. What we were trying to do was the same thing Vanderbilt did. Drive the ball. That’s how you shoot 55% like they did in the second half. We were going to her much more than we wanted to at the start of this ballgame. We were firing blanks from the outside, and then your kids refuse to drive, you’ve got problems.”
“She (Karla) played behind two All-Americans for three years and she stuck around. This is why she’s special.
“Their two guns only scored 25, so we did our job, but they found a way to win. They found a way get to the free throw line.
“After the Duke game last night, Mike Krzyzewski said ‘my kids did everything they could upstairs and downstairs. I’ve got no complaints. ’ I have no complaint with my effort. I have complaints because my team is not playing up to their capability. That’s my complaint. I’m a teacher first, and I can’t handle a loss like that. ”
On SEC’s talent and interesting season finish:
“It just depends on if Tennessee brings their A game like they did against us. They haven’t brought their A game. If they can continue to bring their A game in big games, they have the most talent. The difference is, the rest of us are playing with a lot of heart.
“I don’t care about the Super Bowl. The game last night got me fired up as a coach. This game got me fired up to go back and teach a little better.”