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Aggies Remain Winless In SEC After Double Overtime Loss to Florida

Texas A&M women lose a 19-point lead in regulation to a Gators team playing without its leading scorer and rebounder

The slump is real for the No. 23 Texas A&M Aggies, as they fell in double overtime to Florida, 97-89, in women’s Southeastern Conference action on Sunday at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas.

The Aggies (10-5, 0-3 in SEC) have now lost four of their last five games, dating back to Dec. 12, including all three of their SEC games. While the Aggies faced a pair of Top 25 teams to start league action (LSU, Tennessee), the Aggies faced an undermanned Gators squad that was missing its leading scorer.

The Aggies squandered a 19-point lead in the third quarter, a four-point lead in the first overtime and found themselves buried by the Gators’ run to a six-point lead early in the second overtime.

The Aggies seem certain to drop out of the AP Top 25 when Monday’s poll is released at noon on Monday.

Zipporah Broughton and Kiara Smith proved critical in overtime for the Gators (11-5, 1-2). Both had baskets in double overtime that built the Gators’ six-point edge, and they helped Florida maintain it.

Broughton finished with a game-high 28 points, while Smith had 27 points. Smith also had nine rebounds.

The Gators found out earlier in the week that their leading scorer and rebounder, Lavender Briggs, was out for the season after a stress reaction in her lower leg. Briggs led the Gators with 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Jordyn Merritt added 17 points for the Gators.

The Aggies appeared to be in cruise control with 3:39 left in the third quarter, as they held a 55-36 lead on the Gators. In fact, the Aggies shot 82.9 percent in the third quarter.

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But, like the loss to LSU, where the Aggies held a lead after three quarters, the bottom fell out of their shooting. The Aggies shot 28.6 percent in the fourth quarter and it left an opening for the Gators, as they eventually took the lead late in the fourth quarter.

The Aggies rallied back to tie the game at 69-all with 1:35 left. Merritt gave the Gators back the lead with a basket with 1:22 remaining, but the Aggies answered with 38 seconds remaining, as Maliyah Johnson tied the game.

From there, the two teams traded possessions and missed baskets before overtime. The Aggies had the last shot to win it in regulation, as both Qadashah Hoppie and Aaliyah Patty missed shots in the final 10 seconds that would have given the Aggies the lead.

In overtime, the Aggies built a quick four-point lead, but couldn’t hold it. In fact, the game went to a second overtime because of free throws, with Smith making a pair with eight seconds left to give the Gators the lead, and then Hoppie making a pair to tie the game to send it to a second overtime.

Hoppie had a big game for the Aggies, scoring 25 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor. She also had three steals. Kayla Wells scored 23 points, including an 8-for-11 clip from the free-throw line. Johnson added 13 points, and some her baskets were critical in regulation and in the first overtime, while Patty added 10 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

The Aggies are preparing for a road trip to face No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Aggies then return home next Sunday to host Auburn.

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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.