No. 15 Women's Basketball falls to No. 10 Texas A&M, 91-70, in State Farm Lone Star Showdown
Jan. 9, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Go back 35 years in the record book and the numbers say Texas has dominated Texas A&M.
But wait. Check out the last five years and it's clear the Aggies have turned the rivalry on its head--in a big, big way.
Tanisha Smith scored 28 points and No. 10 Texas A&M downed No. 15 Texas 91-70 on Saturday night in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
The Longhorns still own a 58-18 lead in the series, but the Aggies have won six in a row over their big rivals and eight of the last nine.
Texas A&M (13-1) had five players score in double figures, opened up a 44-19 halftime lead and stretched it as high as 30 points midway through the second half.
"We've still got a lot of work to do," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said when asked about the turn in the rivalry. "We were dead at the bottom when we started."
Considering how close the teams are in the rankings, the Longhorns (11-4) seemed stunned by Texas A&M's speed and athleticism at nearly every position.
Texas A&M guards Smith, Sydney Colson and Tyra White routinely slashed to the basket, leaving defenders twisting to catch up or standing flat footed in the lane. When they weren't driving for baskets, they were kicking the ball out for 3-pointers.
"I think (Smith) is the best unknown player in the country right now," Blair said.
Adaora Elonu scored Texas A&M's first eight points. The Aggies shot 54 percent for the game.
"We allowed them to set the tempo and that put us in a panic mode," Texas senior guard Erika Arriaran said. "That team is very aggressive."
Nothing Texas did could slow it down.
While the Aggies were shooting 58 percent in the first half, Texas committed 15 turnovers--10 in the first 10 minutes--that Texas A&M turned into 18 points.
"It started with our defense," Smith said. "That's the game we like to play."
Texas tried to disrupt the Aggies by going to a full-court press, but even that just created more chances for the Aggies to blow past defenders on the dribble and the lead continued to grow.
Defensively Texas A&M shut down Kathleen Nash, Texas' best perimeter shooter and one of the best 3-point shooters in the country. Nash scored just six points on 1-of-7 shooting and missed all four 3-pointers.
At the start of the second, Colson dribbled into the lane while three Texas defenders stood and watched her go by. When Danielle Adams converted a three-point play with 13:21 to play, Texas A&M led 61-31.
A 15-1 Texas run cut the deficit to 19 when Nash finished a fast break with a layup.
That was about all Texas could muster. A 3-pointer by Adams put the Aggies up 78-56, shutting down any realistic chance of a Longhorns rally.
"I felt like we would come back sooner and a little bit more than we did," Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. "I kept waiting for it. It was too little too late."
On the comparison to last year's game: The last time we played A&M here a year ago, we had the exact same start. I just thought, not again. I was really disappointed that we were doing the same thing we did a year ago. I felt like we would come back a little bit sooner and a little bit more than we did. Once we were able to adjust to their physical play and athleticism, I thought we would make a run of our own, but I just kept waiting for it to happen.
On improvements: I saw some good things that we need to build upon. I thought Ashley Gayle did a nice job, she battled. I thought Earnesia Williams battled. I thought Lauren Flores did some good things for being a freshman in this situation. Erika [Arriaran] looked very aggressive offensively. A lot of our shooters were hesitating, and she who hesitates is lost. You can't hesitate in a game like this.
SENIOR GUARD Erika Arriaran
On the impact of the loss: We lost one at home, so we need to take one on the road. Nobody likes to lose, but we learned a lot from it, and we need to move on. We can't look back. We have to play the first half like we did the second half. It's not okay, but we can't keep dwelling on it. We have to move on.
SOPHOMORE POST Ashley Gayle
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
On Erika Arriaran: That's the best she's played against us in her years. I thought she really showed senior leadership and showed what a great player she is.
SENIOR GUARD TANISHA SMITH