Walker matched a career high with 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead No. 16
Texas A&M to a hard-fought 60-52 win over Vanderbilt Thursday evening
before 4,643 fans at Reed Arena.
Aggies (17-5, 7-1 SEC) shot 71 percent in the second half en route to their 11th
straight home win and fifth in a row overall, maintaining hold on to a tie for
second place in the league standings with idle Kentucky. The Commodores,
meanwhile, fell to 14-7 and 4-4.
visitors held a 39-38 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the game
before A&M made its move. Trailing 39-38, the Aggies went on a 10-0
run-bookended by an Adrienne Pratcher three-pointer and a Pratcher three-point
play-to take their largest lead of the game with about 9 minutes to play.
made some adjustments at the half," Head Coach Gary Blair said following the
game. "We needed a close game; the only difference with this team was that it in
every other close game this year we have not been able to win. We did
everything well in the second half to win this ballgame."
slowly chipped away at the deficit, and following a steal and Christina Foggie
layup the Commodores pulled within three at 50-47 with 4:48 left in the game.
again, Texas A&M would flex its muscle in front of the home crowd. The
Aggies put together another 10-0 run-capped by a Peyton Little three with 1:41
left-to ice the game. A&M's defense was key on the stretch, forcing four
missed shots and a pair of turnovers to complement the offensive outburst.
"It all started in the first five minutes with our defensive
pressure," Blair added. "Walker did a good job of creating plays. We wouldn't
have won the game without her."
only the fourth time this year and the first since late December, Texas A&M
found itself trailing heading into the locker room.
took control early, racing out to an 8-2 lead on the strength of a pair of
three pointers. A&M quickly climbed back in the game however, pulling to
within two points in what would then become a closely-played half.
Commodores would extend the lead to as much as seven on a Heather Bowe jumper
with 2:25 to go before the A&M defense clamped down. Back-to-back jumpers
by Courtney Walker, the final with 70 seconds to play before the break, would
pull the Aggies to within three at 27-24 heading into halftime.
marked A&M's first-ever win over its new SEC foe in the third overall
meeting and first between the schools since 1997.
was the only Aggie in double figures, but three others-Kelsey Bone, Kristi
Bellock and Pratcher-each poured in eight. Bone narrowly missed yet another
double-double with a game-high nine rebounds.
led Vanderbilt with 17 points on the night, while Tiffany Clarke added 14 and
A&M will now face a critical two-game road swing, battling LSU in Baton
Rouge on Monday night (ESPN2, 8 p.m.) before heading to Columbia to tackle No.
13 South Carolina on Sunday, Feb. 10.
Texas A&M Head Coach
On overall game
"I told our team that this team executes their offense as
well as anyone in our league. We were hurting ourselves on the offensive end
just making mistakes. They are a very well coached team. We made some
adjustments at the half. We needed a close game; the only difference with this
team was that it in every other close game this year we have not been able to
win. We did
everything well in the second half to win this ballgame. We will take
the win; we executed better in the second half. It all started in the first
five minutes with our defensive pressure. Walker did a good job of creating
plays. We wouldn't have won the game without her."
On team without Kelsey
Bone playing well
"It has to start with Bellock. She has to realize what is
happening and make things happen. We will work on that. I have been pleased
with my post players."
On five game streak
"I was just looking to get to 7-1; we cannot lose sight of
where Kentucky and Tennessee are if we want a chance to win this thing. I just
want to hang around and let the chips fall, as we get better. I'm playing four
freshmen with double-digit minutes. I don't think anyone else in conference is,
and that's a lot of pressure for them."
Texas A&M Senior
Forward Kristi Bellock
On shooting troubles
"We weren't really concentrating enough. We need to work on attacking
the rim and getting them into foul trouble. We need to get in the gym and get
our shot percentage up and that will help us in the long run."
"They were out working us. We needed to play harder, and
have more energy. We just had to put the ball in the hole. We knew we could
make those shots we were missing."
On Kelsey Bone
"Kelsey is our leader and go-to player. We feed on her
energy. If she doesn't score then we aren't doing our job by getting her the
ball. We need to attack the rim more and help her out."
On momentum into LSU
"It's a big game for me because I'm from New Orleans, so I'm
really exciting. LSU is a good team and we do have a 5 game winning streak so
we want to keep the streak going. We just want to play hard, smart basketball
and take it one game at a time."
Freshman Guard Courtney Walker
On changes in second
"I really just started looking to attack. Either the help went
inside to Kelsey and I took the jump shot or it didn't come and I dumped it in
On momentum into LSU
"LSU is a great team, so we need to take it to them from the
get-go. We have two people from Louisiana so we are just ready to go back there
and take it to them."