AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Yvonne Anderson scored 25 points to go with nine assists and Texas beat No. 17 Texas A&M 79-64 Sunday, picking up a key victory to the Longhorns' NCAA tournament hopes.
Texas (18-12, 8-10) ended the regular season with three straight wins and finished out a season sweep of the defending national champions.
The Aggies (20-9, 11-7) head into the Big 12 tournament with three losses in their last four games.
Chassidy Fussell scored 19 for Texas. Kelsey Bone had 13 points and eight rebounds for Texas A&M.
The game was the last regular-season matchup between the rivals. Texas A&M leaves the Big 12 after this season to go to the Southeastern Conference and Texas officials have given no indication they plan to schedule the Aggies for nonconference games.
-Texas swept the regular-season conference series against Texas A&M for the first time since the 2004 season.
-The Longhorns are now 8-16 all-time when facing the defending national champions.
-UT is now 3-5 against AP Top 25 opponents this season, including previous wins over No. 22 Virginia (Nov. 25) and No. 12 Texas A&M (Jan. 11).
-Texas now holds a 60-23 advantage all-time over Texas A&M dating back to 1975, including a 28-7 record when meeting in Austin.
-The Longhorns are averaging a +17.7 margin of victory over their last three consecutive wins (Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas A&M).
-Texas matched a season-high with nine three-point field goals made.
-Led Texas in scoring with a career-high 25 points
-Reached double-figure scoring for the 19th time this season and 45th of her career
-Led Texas in assists (nine) for the 19th time this season
-Reached double-figure scoring (11 points) for the 19th time this season and 65th of her career
-Matched her career-high in three-pointers (five)
-Reached double figures (19 points) for the 26th time this season and 54th of her career
-Pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds, the seventh time she has led Texas on the boards this season.
HEAD COACH Gail Goestenkors
Opening Statement: I'm really proud of the team, specifically the seniors. They've done a great job when we had our backs against the wall in particular. They've really stepped up and been great leaders for us and have had a tremendous will to win. I'm very happy for them because they deserve this, and they wanted to make sure that they will be going to the NCAA Tournament and they're doing everything in their power to make that happen.
On getting into the NCAA Tournament: Well I would think we're in. We've got so many great wins, not just in the conference but also our pre-conference was very difficult as well, and we got some good wins there, too. I feel like we're in, but we don't want to take any chances. I compare it to the end of the game, you don't want to take any chances and put the call into anyone else's hands. We still feel that we need to go to the tournament and represent and do well.
On up tempo basketball: Yeah, I feel like we've been playing inspired basketball recently, the last three games in particular when our backs have been against the wall. We're really peaking at the right time. Like I said, I think the seniors have set the tone. As a coach, you love to see your team play with tremendous focus and passion. That's what it's all about.
SENIOR GUARD Ashleigh Fontenette
On beating the Aggies: I think it's great. It's a great way to go out. We've struggled against them in the past and to just come out and beat them by 18 points is really the best way to go out for me.
SENIOR POST Ashley Gayle
On beating the Aggies: I feel the same way (as Ashleigh Fontenette). If I could've chosen any opponent for my last game here at the Erwin Center it would have been Texas A&M. Just to be able to play against them is great. A&M has a great team and a great program but for our team to come together and put it all out there is great. It's a great win for us and a great way to go out.
On Nneka Enemkpali's performance: I have no clue. I told her it looked like she was flying through the air and grabbing rebounds. I told her to keep flying into the second half. That's pretty much what she did. She's very athletic, and I think she's figured out the angles to rebounding and how to rebound at this level. I think she's doing a great job.
SENIOR GUARD Yvonne Anderson
On sense of urgency: I think there definitely was. We know what our goal is: to get in to the NCAA Tournament and obviously progress in the Tournament. We know that during the season we didn't do what we needed to to be in and I think with these last three games we were trying to show that we do deserve to be in.
On changes in focus and consistency: We've just been working more on the little things. I think we have been attacking the boards more, had more of a sense of urgency, and we've hustled harder. We've really wanted to win all of the hustle plays. I think all the little things that we've have been preaching about like pushing the ball, playing with a sense of urgency, executing and taking care of the ball have really helped us in these last three games.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
Opening statement: Texas played with a sense of urgency today. If they would have lost the game, they would have been out of the tournament. It's simple: no 7-11 teams ever make the tournament unless you win the conference tournament. Of course, as well as they played against Texas A&M and in the last two ballgames, they could win the conference tournament. It all starts with guard play, and their guards were just a lotbetter than ours today. (Yvonne) Anderson played like she was playing for (head coach) Gail (Goestenkors) and her mom and dad today. And that was the biggest key in the ballgame. (Chassidy) Fussell is going to get hers. We tried to play Tyra White to have a taller player on her. She's just got a great shot, and she plays with no fear. So when they have two of those three cooking at all times, and then Fontenette threw that last dagger in near the end of the game, you just pat them on the back and give them credit and say, "We'll see you Thursday night," when we play them again.
The last two years, we've beaten Texas 3-0 and most of them we're not close. This one was not close here. Texas was good. They hurt us with the guard play. They hurt us with the pick-and-roll. They hurt us with the offensive boards. They hurt us with energy. And we hurt ourselves by our seniors who have never lost in this building not being able to express to themselves, as seniors, and the younger people who do not understand yet what a rivalry is all about between A&M and Texas.
Whether we ever play each other again in another sport, that's for all the political people somewhere else. But
we recruit against each other, we marry each other. Longhorns marry Aggies, believe it or not. So right now, we're going to go back to the drawing board. We're not ready for the Big 12 Tournament, I'll tell you that. Even though we won seven out of 10 games until tonight, we're not ready because right now, we're not good enough. We've used this adage all year that everybody was giving us our best shot. But what are we supposed to do? We're not playing like defending national champions. We're playing like No. 14 team in the nation or whatever. We're too inconsistent. We've got to do a better job. I hope this is enough to get Gail in the (NCAA) tournament because they deserve it.
On Texas' play this afternoon: They were not doing anything spectacular in the first half. We gave them a few things. We were not pressing early. We wanted to take their transition game away. We were doing okay. They're always going to miss some bunnies with their post players. But their post players are going to play hard and set great screens. My post players do not set great screens. We've got to do a better job of teaching. Their guards know how to set up the screens more, while our guards could not come away from Anderson to come off a screen a lot of times.