Women's Basketball drops regular season finale, 67-60, to No. 14 Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Junior guard A'Quonesia Franklin and sophomore guard Takia Starks combined for 45 of Texas A&M's 67 points, as the No. 14 Aggies posted a 67-60 victory over The University of Texas in the regular season finale for both squads, which also was a State Farm Lone Star Showdown series game between the two schools.
Franklin netted a game-high 27 points, hitting four three-pointers and adding a seven-for-nine effort from the foul line, to lead Texas A&M (23-5 overall) to at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship. The Aggies, who went eight-for-22 from 3-point territory, finish with a 13-3 mark, and, depending on the Oklahoma-Baylor game finish later Wednesday night, will either share the regular season crown with OU or win it outright with an OU loss. This is TAMU's first women's basketball conference crown in 31 seasons of play.
Texas ends the regular season at 17-13 and finishes the league at 6-10.
The Longhorns were paced by 19 points apiece from senior forward Tiffany Jackson and freshman guard Brittainey Raven. Raven's 19 points were a career high. Jackson added seven rebounds.
Joining Franklin and Starks in double-digit scoring for TAMU was sophomore post La Toya Micheaux who finished with a double-double (11 points, game-high 10 rebounds).
In the second half, the Aggies led the whole way. Texas was down by seven, 61-54, with 2:38 to play before cutting the lead to three, 61-58, on a fastbreak layup from Erneisha Bailey with 1:48 to go.
That was the closest the Longhorns would get, as UT would miss its next two shots and the Aggies turned the ball over and had a miss on their next two possessions. Following the second UT miss, Franklin was fouled on the defensive end and went to the line to sink two free throws to push A&M's lead to five, 63-58 with 33 seconds left.
Texas then missed a three-point attempt and fouled on the play, sending Franklin back to the line where she sank both free throws for a 65-58 edge with 19 seconds left.
For the game, the Longhorns shot 44.8 percent (26-58 while the Aggies shot 37 percent from the floor (23-62); however, TAMU held a 42-32 advantage on the boards. UT was two-for-nine in 3-pointers and six-for-eight in foul shots. The Aggies went 13-for-19 from the foul line.
Both team turned the ball over 13 times. Texas had a big advantage in fastbreak points, 16-5 and in points in the paint (38-22).
Texas shot 48 percent in the first half, but trailed, 34-29, as the Aggies netted five 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes to UT's one trey. Franklin led the way for the Aggies with 15 points, going six-for-13 from the floor in the opening period with two 2-pointers.
There were six lead changes and three ties in the first half. With the score tied 25-25 after a Jackson basket with 4:19 to play in the first half, the Aggies out-scored the Longhorns 9-4 down the stretch, with Franklin netting five of those points.
TAMU held a 19-16 advantage in rebounding in the first half. Both teams controlled the ball well, with UT turning it over seven times and the Aggies six times.
Next up for Texas will be the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship, taking place next Tuesday-Thursday and Friday, March 6-8 and 10, at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The pairings and seedings for the championship will be announced late Thursday (March 1) evening following the last games of the regular season. Texas will earn either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in the tourney, depending on Thursday night's game results.
· Texas head coach Jody Conradt remains at 899 career victories, one win shy of joining only one other collegiate men's or women's basketball coach in history at the 900-win milestone. Tennessee's Pat Summitt currently has a career record of 940-179 as head coach of the Lady Vols.
· Texas A&M has a current 18-game homecourt win streak, which is the sixth-longest current Division I home winning streak ... Texas A&M finishes the year undefeated (at 16-0) at home in Reed Arena, its first undefeated home season in the program's 31-year history.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME QUOTES
Later in the first half, they started flying to the boards. We were not blocking them out and they were making money shots. The key in the second half was the boards that we got and playing effective zone defense. We did a very very good job on (Earnesia) Williams and (Carla) Cortijo. Both of them are redshirt freshmen and outstanding players. That was a key -- we didn't want Jackson to go off and get a lot of touches and score on her second or third moves.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
We put them on the line too much at the end. They had the ability to get to the free throw line, and we didn't tonight, and that made a big difference. At the end, we really did not want to put someone like Franklin on the foul line, but she had the ball and we had to foul.
I was pretty proud of how we fought. We had a chance to pull it out later in the game, and I hope that the momentum can carry us into the Big 12 Tournament effectively. In order to extend our season, we have to have this positive momentum and capture it and use it next week in Oklahoma City. I never thought I'd say that I want to stay in Oklahoma for as long as possible, but that is true about next week and staying at the tournament for as long as possible to extend this season.