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Joni Taylor
Patty & Green
Kelly Rae Finley
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

Florida outlasts Texas A&M in hard-fought New Year's Day battle, 55-48

January 1, 2023
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A fourth-quarter faltering.

Texas A&M (5-7, 0-2) dropped its first Southeastern Conference home game of 2022-23 as Florida (12-3, 1-1) outlasted the Aggies at Reed Arena, 55-48. A strong Aggie defense through three quarters cratered late as the Gators scored 22 points in the final stanza.

“They wanted this game,” said Texas A&M head coach Joni Taylor. “You can see it in their faces after the game. They’re disappointed, and I’m glad they’re disappointed. They’re going to hold on to this. I said, ‘You’re going to be so much better, but we have to go through it.’ That’s part of the process.”

Aaliyah Patty led the Aggies’ efforts offensively with a game-high 15 points, while Florida’s Nina Rickards and Ra Shaya Kyle scored 14 and 12, respectively. Sahara Jones added 10 points for A&M.

“We shared the ball and did some really, really good things,” Taylor said. “Again, they’re going to learn from this, and as long as they continue to show up every day wanting to better and wanting to do the things we’re asking them to do, we’re going to continue to see the success.

“You can see it in their faces after the game. They’re disappointed, and I’m glad they’re disappointed. They’re going to hold on to this. I said, ‘You’re going to be so much better, but we have to go through it.’ That’s part of the process.”
- A&M head coach Joni Taylor

“What does success look like when it doesn’t come in a win? It didn’t come in a win today, but we had a lot of successful moments in terms of the things we measure.”

A&M held a 36-33 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Florida found an escape route by taking advantage of too many A&M defensive lapses.

“Tonight, we didn’t get the good outcome,” Patty said. “We’re going to learn from those mistakes and try to be better the next game.”

The Gators out-rebounded A&M, 9-2, in the fourth alone and scored seven second-chance points off of five second-half offensive rebounds.

“We let too many things in a row continue to happen,” Patty said. “Offensive rebounding, letting them get threes. They didn’t really shoot many threes or make many threes the whole game, and then at the end, they made two big threes.”

With A&M up 40-39, Alberte Rimdal hit Florida’s first 3-pointer of the afternoon with 5:56 to play. A&M never led again, though they did pull even.

“We’re going to be in a lot of close games,” Taylor said. “The fourth quarter, that last six minutes are really, really important, and we got to make sure that when we’re tired, when we’re getting pressured — whatever it is — that we can still execute offensively, we can defend without fouling, we can get a defensive rebound and get it back on our side of the floor. We just didn’t do that towards the end.”

Florida ultimately broke a 44-44 tie with a 7-0 run, punctuated by another clutch triple from Rimdal with just under two minutes remaining. Florida finished 2-of-13 from behind the arc.

“We talk a lot about teams in this conference and making them go to plan B,” Taylor said. “We didn’t do that against South Carolina. We did that today.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Aaliyah Patty scored a game-high 15 points, her fourth double-figure performance of the season.

“Florida wants to score in transition. They make seven threes a game. They only made two. Those were two crucial ones they made at the end.”

Through three quarters, A&M held Florida to 34.1 percent from the field (14-of-41). In the fourth, the Gators shot 57.1 percent (8-of-14).

“Defense has to be our identity,” said A&M guard Kay Kay Green. “Offense is going to come, but defense has to be our identity.”

A&M trailed 27-22 at the break largely because Florida dominated the paint in the opening half, scoring 24 of their 27 first-half points in the lane. Conversely, A&M registered just six paint points.

However, a strong third quarter saw Eriny Kindred score all nine of her points to spur an Aggie comeback. In the penultimate frame, A&M’s defense held the visitors to just six points on 10 percent shooting (1-of-10).

“A lot of our SEC games are going to be close,” Green said. “We just have to find a way to keep pushing and get a win.”

Texas A&M hits the road this week to face LSU in Baton Rouge on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT.

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Florida outlasts Texas A&M in hard-fought New Year's Day battle, 55-48

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