The momentum that the Tennessee women’s basketball team rode through a two-game win streak over Auburn and Missouri last week did not follow them to College Station, TX., on Thursday night.
The Lady Vols (17-9, 6-7 SEC) could not overcome their offensive struggles in the second half, or Texas A&M guards Kayla Wells and Chennedy Carter as the Aggies (20-6, 9-4 SEC) topped Tennessee, 79-62 at Reed Arena.
With the loss, the Lady Vols’ once again find themselves in limbo as far as their NCAA Tournament chances are concerned.
“Hats off to (Texas) A&M,” Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick said. “They played hard. We were uninspired and uninterested.”
Tennessee went into the half trailing by just five, but poor shooting in the final two quarters plagued the Lady Vols down the stretch.
There were no answers to be found on the part of Tennessee, as Wells posted a career-high 29 points along with going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Fellow guard Chennedy Carter also proved to be too much, scoring 28 points for her 33rd-straight game scoring in double figures.
“(Carter) was awesome,” Warlick said. “Carter is going to get her points. We talked a lot about making sure everybody else didn’t have a great game and Kayla (Wells) was awesome. She hit threes, she hit free throws. She was outstanding.”
While the Lady Vols managed to outscore the Aggies 20-17 in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M did irreparable damage in the third quarter thanks to nearly 60-percent shooting. Tennessee was outscored, 27-12 in the period.
“We were 0 for 6 in the lane,” Warlick said. “You’re not going to win games when you’re 10-of-26 in the paint. You’ve got make shots. In that stretch, we let our offense affect our defense.
“We wanted to come in here and compete. We didn’t compete. I don’t have an answer.”
For the game, Tennessee shot just over 37-percent, finishing 27-of-72 from the floor, and 4-of-15 from the perimeter.
The Lady Vols committed 12 turnovers which translated into 19 points on the other end for Texas A&M.
Sophomore guard Evina Westbrook led the Lady Vols with 17 points and five assists, while senior forward Cheridene Green notched another double-double behind 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Still in search of another resume-boosting win, Tennessee will play host to No. 13 South Carolina (19-7, 11-2 SEC) at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. and can be seen ESPN2.