No. 16 Lady Vols fall just short at No. 6 Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (UT Athletics) – No. 16/19 Tennessee pulled within one late in the fourth but couldn’t overcome a No. 6/5 Texas A&M team that shot 63 percent from the floor in the final quarter and also hit 17 of 22 free throws in that period, falling 80-70 in Reed Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Senior Rennia Davis led Tennessee (12-5, 6-3 SEC) with 25 points and added four rebounds, marking her fourth game this season and 17th of her career with 20 or more points. Sophomore Tamari Key turned in her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Rae Burrell was also in double figures in points with 18 points and five rebounds, while Kasiyahna Kushkituah added 10 boards and eight points.

Destiny Pitts was the high scorer for Texas A&M (19-1, 10-1 SEC) with 18 points, and Jordan Nixon was close behind with 15. Aaliyah Wilson and Kayla Wells turned in 13 points apiece, and Ciera Johnson added 10.

The Aggies got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 6-0 lead before Key got UT on the board with a layup, setting off an 11-0 run contributed to by four different Lady Vols that put Tennessee up five by the 5:00 mark. TAMU was held without a field goal for 6:03 before Wells and Pitts combined for two treys and a jumper in the final two minutes while limiting UT to a layup by Key, sending the game into the second period tied at 15-all.

The Aggies were again the first to score, reclaiming the lead off a layup by McKinzie Green. The teams then traded baskets, tying the score up on three separate occasions in the first two minutes before Wells hit a jumper to set off a 6-0 run that put Texas A&M up 27-21 by the 6:45 mark. Tennessee rallied back, getting the ball in the paint to Key and Kushkituah to pull back within two points just over a minute later. Wilson stretched TAMU’s lead back to four before the media timeout, but Davis put in a layup to cut it to two. Burrell and Marta Suárez combined for five points in the final minute of the half, and the Aggies were limited to just a layup, sending the game to the half tied 32-32.

Texas A&M jumped out to a five-point lead in the third off quick buckets by Wilson and Nixon, but a trey by Burrell and a layup by Kushkituah tied it at 37 by the 8:13 mark. Key hit a pair of free throws to again tie it up at 39-all before Burrell added a layup and Suárez hit her second three of the game to give UT the lead at 44-39 with 6:39 left in the quarter. The Lady Vols carried a four-point lead into the media timeout, but the Aggies cut it down to one with just over four minutes to go in the quarter. Davis responded with a driving layup, but then UT went cold from the floor as TAMU closed out the quarter with a 6-1 run to send Tennessee into the final stanza down two at 51-49.

Burrell knocked down a pair of free throws in the first minute of the fourth to tie it up at 51. The teams swapped baskets over the next four possessions before Johnson and Pitts scored on back-to-back plays to put Texas A&M up by four with 7:06 left in the game. Burrell cut it to two on the next play, but Nixon converted on four-straight free throws to stretch the Aggie lead to 63-57 a minute and a half later. Davis bounced back with a trey before Wilson scored on a fast break layup to make the deficit five for UT. Davis and Burrell then added two free throws each, pulling Tennessee within one point with 2:11 to play. Pitts knocked down a trey on the next possession, and Davis answered with a jumper, but a foul behind the arc on the other end gave Pitts three free throws, all of which she hit, to put TAMU up by five at the 1:21 mark and force Tennessee to foul. Davis added two more points for UT, but the Aggies were able to convert on their free throws, taking an 80-70 victory.

Up Next: The Lady Vols continue their three-game road swing, facing off against Mississippi State on Tuesday in a 5 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. CT contest that will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Re Making Moves: Senior Rennia Davis turned in 25 points at Texas A&M, moving her career points total to 1,642. She now ranks 15th all-time on the Lady Vols scoring list and is just one point shy of catching No. 14 Glory Johnson.

TK Heating Up: Sophomore Tamari Key turned in her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Texas A&M. After opening the season with eight games in single digits, she has now scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games.

Owning The Glass: The Lady Vols outrebounded the Aggies 40-29 and turned those boards into 19 second-chance points. They have now outworked every opponent this season on the glass, with an overall margin of +17.5 rpg.

Horston Dishing: Sophomore Jordan Horston doled out seven assists against TAMU. Her current career average of 4.5 apg. would stand at fourth all-time among Lady Vols.

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