In a closely contested battle, the Florida women’s basketball team fell on the road to Texas A&M. The loss drops the Gators to 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the SEC, second worst in the conference. Texas A&M meanwhile is now 16-6 and 6-3 in the SEC, enough to stay in the top five of the conference. The win means the Aggies swept the season series against the Gators after A&M came out on top in Gainesville 67-59.
The two teams were pretty even going into halftime as the Aggies led 42-39 at the break.
The home team was paced by the performance of their star center Khaalia Hillsman in the first 20 minutes. She attacked the low post against the Gators, grabbing eight boards in the opening half to go along with 11 points. Hillsman ended the game with a double-double, tallying 24 points and 18 rebounds in a very impressive performance. Taylor Cooper and Danni Williams each had seven points in the first half for the Aggies.
A&M really used the charity stripe to their advantage as well. They got almost a third of their first-half points from the free-throw line, going 15-for-17. The Gators on the other hand only went 2-for-3 from the free-throw line in the first 20 minutes.
For the Gators, Ronni Williams didn’t have much of an impact early on. She got into early foul trouble and only played 11 minutes in the first half. Delicia Washington picked up the slack for her team, though. She had 14 points to help the Gators keep pace. She shot 7-for-11 from the field and grabbed three rebounds. Sydney Morang also gave the Gators a small boost, hitting two three-pointers early in the first quarter.
first half stats
TAMU leads Gators, 42-39 pic.twitter.com/bCDpBeJFuU
— Gators WBasketball (@GatorsWBK) February 3, 2017
The third quarter is where Texas A&M really picked it up. After a Haley Lorenzen three-pointer cut the deficit to two points, the Aggies went on a 15-6 run to close out the third quarter. Because of the run, they entered the fourth quarter with a 66-55 lead.
Danni Williams sparked the run for A&M, scoring seven points during the run, including her first three-pointer of the game. Curtyce Knox was also influential, as she was the entire game. The SEC’s leading assist-getter notched a double-double for the Aggies. She dished 13 assists to go along with eight points. It was a key performance for a team that leads the conference in team assists, as their ball movement helped break down a pesky Florida defense. The Aggies as a whole ended up with 20 assists, as did Florida.
— Aggie Women's Hoops (@AggieWBB) February 3, 2017
The Aggies offensive momentum continued to carry into the fourth quarter, as they maintained a decent distance from the Gators. Taylor Cooper continued to knock down three-pointers, helping her reach a career-high 16 points for Texas A&M.
While the Gators did go on a small run to make the game closer at the end of the fourth, it was too little, too late.
Ultimately the rebounding advantage was too much for the Gators to overcome. Hillsman dominated them in the paint all game long, and for a team that had been doing well on the boards the past few days, the Gators didn’t have it against the Aggies. The were pounded on the glass, out-rebounded 44-28, including 18-12 on the offensive boards.
Three UF players did get in double-digit scoring, with Washington leading the way with 23 points. Morang had one of her best games, putting up 12 points on four three-pointers, and Lorenzen pitched in with 11 points. Ultimately, the early foul trouble for Ronni Williams may have taken away the few extra points the Gators could have used.
The Gators will look to bounce back Monday when they host Ole Miss.