The #17 Aggies won 79-76 after Tennessee started off the OT period with for straight free throws for a 74-70 advantage. Updates with new lead, quotes, photo links.
COLLEGE STATION- Danni Williams hit three free throws to take the lead with 7.8 seconds remaining, as No. 17 Texas A&M defeated No. 6 Tennessee 79-76 in overtime, handing the Lady Vols their first loss of the season. Texas A&M has now won its past two match-ups with the Lady Vols and the last two meetings in College Station, both in overtime.
"I thought I was going to throw up", Williams admitted afterward with a grin.
"(I) Just had to breathe and relax. Williams went 3-3 from the line after a late foul from beyond the arc to put the Ags up for good at 77-76.
"I think right before the first half when Anriel [Howard] had to sit down, that really hurt us because they just started killing us on the boards", Blair said. "But this team is used to playing those kinds of minutes, and every possession was so important".
The Lady Vols (15-1, 3-1 SEC) had one final chance, but forward Jaime Nared could not corral guard Evina Westbrook's pass in the corner, turning the ball over with 1.8 seconds left in overtime which sealed the win for A&M. The Maroon & White couldn't get shots to fall and Tennessee capitalized on turnovers. "It's another learning opportunity for us". Williams would make her three free throws to give Texas A&M the lead.
Williams and Khaalia Hillsman each scored a game-high 22 points, while Chennedy Carter added 21. Tennessee had a chance to win it in regulation, but Meme Jackson's three-pointer was too long, sending the game to overtime tied at 70.
Battle For The Paint: Texas A&M had been out-rebounding opponents by an average of almost nine rebounds per game. Both teams were getting after it. "We have been in so many games like this all year, and our kids are exhausted".
Texas A&M won against a top-10 team for the first time since November 30, 2014, when the Aggies defeated No. 8 Duke 63-59 in College Station.
Mercedes Russell's double-double couldn't prevent the Lady Vols first loss of the season.
Tennessee travels to No. 9 SC, who won the 2016 national championship, on Sunday.
Texas A&M: The Aggies needed this one to boost their confidence, considering their two previous victories in SEC play came against unranked opponents in Kentucky and Auburn.
Tennessee: The Lady Vols might drop a bit from No. 6, but pollsters will keep in mind it was a tight game on the road against a quality foe. "We're in this thing to win championships". Russell continued her strong offensive play with six more in the second quarter, and the Lady Vols recorded 10 assists on 16 baskets to take a 36-34 lead into the break.
With the win, A&M jumps into a six-way tie for second place in the SEC, and returns to the court this Sunday as the Aggies host Georgia with tip-off slated for 2 p.m.