NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Empress Davenport put the finishing touch on what’s become common place for Texas — beating Texas A&M.
Davenport’s layup with 4.2 seconds remaining helped No. 3 Texas overcome an 11-point second-half deficit for a 67-65 win over No. 4 Texas A&M on Sunday.
The win is the fourth straight for the Longhorns (10-0) over the rival Aggies (11-1), and the 10 straight wins to open the season are the best start for Texas since opening 11-0 in 2008.
Texas trailed 45-34 early in the second half, but its full-court press disrupted Texas A&M after that — forcing 15 turnovers by the Aggies.
After Achiri Ade tied the game at 65-65 with 31 seconds remaining, Davenport drove into the heart of the Aggies’ defense for the game-winning layup.
Nneka Enemkpali led Texas with 21 points and 13 rebounds, finishing 7 of 12 from the field.
Jordan Jones had 21 points for Texas A&M, while Courtney Williams added 19 in the loss.
Following a timeout after Davenport’s layup, Jones drove the length of the court for the Aggies, only to have her last-second shot miss.
After trailing for much of the first half, Texas A&M surged ahead 32-31 at halftime and led by as many as 11 early in the second half — with Jada Terry putting the Aggies up 45-34 with a putback to cap a 9-0 run.
The Longhorns, who committed 20 turnovers, struggled to hold on to the ball during the first half, but they applied their own pressure in the second. Using a harassing full-court press, Texas finally regained the lead at 62-61 after a Davenport free throw with 4:14 remaining.
It then pushed the lead to 65-51 with 3:01 remaining, but Texas A&M tied the game at 65-65 after baskets by Williams and Ade.
Texas A&M was a game away from reaching the Final Four last season, when it also lost 69-58 to the Longhorns in an early season nonconference game — giving Karen Aston a win in her first game against the Aggies as Texas’ head coach.
The Longhorns, who had won nine straight games since losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, led for much of the first half, thanks in large part to Kelsey Lang — who hit her first four shots and had 10 points and five rebounds at halftime.
Texas pulled ahead 19-14 after a 3-pointer by Brooke McCarty, but the Aggies responded with three quick baskets to take their first lead at 20-19 on a putback by Ade.
Texas A&M continued to disrupt Texas’ offense for the remainder of the half, scoring 14 points off 10 turnovers by the Longhorns. Williams capped a 12-2 run to put the Aggies up 26-21 when she hit a jumper after Texas’ ninth turnover of the half.
Texas, however, turned the tables on Texas A&M’s pressure in the second half.
Sunday’s game was a homecoming of sorts for both Texas A&M coach Gary Blair and Aston. Blair coached the Razorbacks for 10 seasons from 1993-2003 and still has family in northwest Arkansas, while Aston is from Bryant, Arkansas and played collegiately at Arkansas-Little Rock.
Texas is off for nine days before hosting Rice in its final nonconference game before Big 12 play on Dec. 30.
The Aggies actually return to Arkansas on Jan. 4 for an SEC game against the Razorbacks, but they next travel to Washington on Dec. 29.
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