LEXINGTON, Ky. - Texas A&M women's basketball overcame a 12-point deficit to defeat Kentucky, 73-64, in overtime at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The Aggies (13-9, 3-7 SEC) faced a 12-point disadvantage heading into the second half. However, stifling defense and efficient offense allowed A&M to earn a crucial road victory. The nation's fifth-best shooting team from beyond the arc went 40.9% from deep (9-22) and forced 24 turnovers while also taking six charges.
Destiny Pitts led the Aggies with 20 points while grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing six assists. Jordan Nixon had 16 points and kept the offense moving with five dimes and zero turnovers. Qadashah Hoppie scored 17 points and played a game-high 40 minutes. Kayla Wells' defense helped make All-American Rhyne Howard's day difficult, anchoring a defensive unit that forced two single-digit quarter outputs from Kentucky. Sydnee Roby led the bench effort, scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds while also hitting the game-tying shot to force overtime.
UK (9-10, 2-7 SEC) from the tip was shooting the lights out, hitting 66.7% of its shots in the first period. A&M tried to keep pace but gave up an 8-0 run over the final 2:48 of the quarter and had a 26-15 deficit to overcome heading into the second.
The second quarter came with a cool down of the Cats' offense. The Aggies held them scoreless for the first 7:37 of the period. However, the A&M offense was still trying to find its footing and was down 12, 32-20, heading into halftime.
After 20 minutes of action, the A&M offense finally found that footing with a 15-2 run to start the new half. The run was highlighted by Pitts who nailed two triples, including the deep ball that gave A&M the lead at the 5:51 mark in the quarter. The two teams would go back and forth to finish the period, resulting in a two-point advantage for UK as the fourth and final frame of regulation began, 41-39.
Pitts continued her hot shooting into the fourth. The Detroit native hit back-to-back threes that helped A&M build a three-point lead, 49-46, with 4:58 remaining in the game. The game was neck-and neck from then on out. UK took a lead, 55-53, with just under a minute remaining in the fourth. The Aggies drew up an out-of-bounds play that got Roby a clean look under the basket that tied the game, 55-55, with :29.5 second left on the clock. The Cats' final possession of regulation saw Sahara Jones and Hoppie take turns on Kentucky's Howard that forced a timeout from Kentucky with :5.2 seconds remaining. Howard caught the ball about five feet beyond the arc, stepping through a double team for a shot as time expired that came off the rim just short to send the game into overtime.
The pressure that the Aggies put on the Cats to force overtime finally cracked UK in the extra period. The Maroon & White dominated the end of the game, shooting 66.7% in OT and holding Kentucky to just nine points. A&M won, 73-64, overcoming a 12-point deficit on the road for its first road victory of the season.
The Texas A&M women's basketball team returns home to play Vanderbilt on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. inside Reed Arena.
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- Texas A&M improves to 13-9 overall this season and 3-7 in conference play.
- The Maroon & White is now 8-5 all-time versus Kentucky.
- The A&M defense held the UK offense to just six points in the second quarter. This was the second lowest scoring quarter for the Cats this season.
- The Maroon & White held Kentucky to six and nine points in the second and third quarters, respectively. This was the first back-to-back single-digit quarters for the Wildcats this season.
- After giving up 26 points in the first quarter, A&M only allowed the Wildcats to score 38 points through the next three quarters and overtime.
- The Aggies made eight-or-more 3-pointers for the 10th time this year (8-2).
- The Maroon & White are now 1-1 in overtime games this year. The last overtime bout came against Florida on Jan. 9. A&M is now 22-16 in overtime games all-time.
- The Aggies picked up their first road victory of the season.
- Texas A&M utilized a starting lineup of Jordan Nixon, Qadashah Hoppie, Kayla Wells, Destiny Pitts and Aaliyah Patty for the fourth time this season (4-0).
- Destiny Pitts scored a season-high 20 points, while collecting 10 rebounds for the third double-double of the year for her. Pitts dished a season-best six assists.
- The Detroit native hit five triples, matching her season high against Little Rock on Dec. 1, 2021.
- Qadashah Hoppie played 40-or-more minutes for the fourth time this season.
- Hoppie scored 17 points, going 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. Hoppie matched the third-most points she has scored this year. Women's Basketball Hall-of-Famer Gary Blair moves to 851-342 in his career with a 443-179 record at Texas A&M.
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