Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair made it very clear after the game that his squad is not the same one that won the National Championship last season, but that they are a work in progress.
Despite not being exactly the same team, the final result against No.25 Texas Tech (15-6, 3-6 in Big 12 Conference Play), like both times last season, turned out the same – conference wins.
"I just think we got back to our old ways," Texas A&M senior guard Sydney Carter said. "I think we got back to pressuring the ball, I really needed to pick it up and show everybody that my defense hasn't gone anywhere this year. I really needed to step up and pressure (Monique) Smalls on the ball and help my teammates out more. I just think we had an all-around defensive effort today."
Defense is what got the No. 18 Aggies (15-5, 6-3) the lead and the eventual 67-55 win against the Lady Raiders on Tuesday night.
Tech and A&M traded points for the majority of the first half before the Aggies went on an 8-0 run to pull to a 21-12 lead.
With just two minutes and six seconds left in the first half, Tech found itself down 30-20 to the defending National Champs, but were able to rally and roll out a 7-0 run to pull within three, 30-27, before halftime.
Going into the second half, with the momentum on their side, the Lady Raiders hit a shooting drought as for the first 5:34 of the second half, Tech didn't score and A&M took a commanding 37-27 lead before Kierra Mallard made it to the free-throw line and sink 1-of-2 free-throws. Mallard finished the night 2-for-13 from the field and had eight points in her return to action for the first time since the Iowa State game.
During the drought Tech went 0-for-8 from the field.
"Just credit A&M's defense, I thought we missed a lot of easy shots to start the second half and from that point on couldn't get anything to go down," Tech Head Coach Kristy Curry said. "But again you've got to credit their defense."
Texas Tech players were not made available to the media following the game.
Despite struggling for a stretch in the game, Tech was able to crawl back into the contest with 2:01 left pulling it to 57-50 lead for the Aggies.
But there just wasn't enough time and Texas A&M was clutch from the charity stripe going 10-for-10 sealing the 67-55 win and extending the Aggies winning streak against the Lady Raiders to three.
"That was just a good basketball game to watch," Blair said, "because the kids were getting after it."
In the loss, unlike A&M, which had four players go for double-digits in scoring, the Lady Raiders had just Casey Morris, 14, and Chynna Brown, 13, eclipse the 10-point mark in the game, which was one of the main issues in the game.
Tech has a couple of days now before it has to take the court again against Missouri at home on Sunday at 1 p.m., and Curry said the coaching staff has to work with the players and the team needs to continue to work in practice to get better.
"You just stay positive, continue to work on things and encourage them that they can make shots," she said. "But I also think it's very important that they understand it starts in practice and game speed and continue to come in.
"At this point our backs are against the wall and we've got an opportunity with nine games to go to do something about it and we control our own destiny."