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Texas A&M Women's Basketball

Taylor explains A&M's up-and-down stretch ahead of Tennessee trip

February 27, 2024

Texas A&M women's basketball is fighting for its NCAA Tournament lives with only two regular-season games remaining. On Tuesday, head coach Joni Taylor spoke to TexAgs Radio about the importance of handling business vs. Tennessee and Alabama before the SEC Tournament.

Key notes from Joni Taylor interview

  • Up and down would be the way to describe it. That’s what happens when you lose your point guard, who was averaging 17 points per game. We figured it out against Arkansas, but we struggled on Sunday at Auburn. We have to figure things out without Endyia Rogers.
  • What’s challenging is that our byes came in January, back-to-back. We gave them a lot of time off then because we knew the end of the year would be a grind. Where we are now, we modify as we need to in terms of helping to manage the load. We can modify players with their loads and their minutes based on what our strength and conditioning staff tells us.
  • Rogers had surgery last Tuesday, and she’s progressing in rehab right now. We hope to see her before the end of the season, but when that will be, we don’t know.
  • Auburn can struggle to score if you play defense, but we gave them points off turnovers. Everyone has injuries, but ours have come at a difficult time in the year. We’re adjusting to losing a fifth-year senior who was the reason we didn’t turn the ball over, and we’re also trying to replace 17 points per game. Our point guards have a lot more heat on them now. They have to be better. Our other players have to get open and be open when they have to be open to take some heat off our lead guards.
  • If you don’t take care of Tennessee and Alabama and have a run in the SEC Tournament, there is no NCAA Tournament. That’s in our minds, but this is what’s in front of us. We’re fighting to get in. Are we on the bubble? Are we out? Do we have to play in a play-in game? Regardless, this team is focused on what’s in front of us, and that’s how they handle information best.
  • Defensively, we’ve stepped up the last couple of games. In a loss to Vanderbilt, we only gave up 49 points. We went to Auburn and did well defensively when we weren’t turning the ball over. The defense is continuing to defend, and I’m excited about that. We have not allowed people to get to the free-throw line at their usual rate. We’ve gotten some people back, but we’re trying to find a good flow with some of our bench players. That’s vital for us as well.
  • We talk about having short-term memory every day in practice. We have catchphrases and sayings that can hopefully snap us out of what just happened. We know those mantras and sayings. They’re constantly talked about in the film room, practice and games. We need to get to neutral and not get too high or too low. We just focus on what’s the next best thing we can do.
  • Tennessee is a totally different team than when we played them in January. They have a first-round pick in Rickea Jackson. When they came to Reed Arena, Tamari Key only played like four minutes as she continued to recover from an injury that forced her to miss all of last year. Key is now over 20 minutes a game, so we have to move her away from the basket. We’ll have our hands full, and they play really well at home. We have to make sure we’re locked into our assignments and not allowing them to get points at the free-throw line.
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Taylor explains A&M's up-and-down stretch ahead of Tennessee trip

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