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Maci Morris says she must “step up to the plate” more for teammates

Texas A&M concentrated its defense on Maci Morris with physical play like this that did not result in a foul. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

No one can accuse Texas A&M coach Gary Blair of not being a gracious winner.

His Aggies came into Memorial Coliseum Thursday night and beat No. 11 Kentucky 62-55.

“Another great atmosphere anytime you come into basketball country in Kentucky. You just appreciate and know what this sport is all about. You’ve got knowledgeable fans that pull for their team, you got three great players and you’ve got other kids who are developing into role players,” Blair said.

“Difference in the ball game is that my three (best players) went for 24, 16 and 14 points and yours went for 11, seven, and nine points and usually it’s about even. The difference in the ball game was the boards. Chennedy Carter and Ciera Jones play so hard. We were even trying to get the ball to her (Jones) more and we didn’t run a couple sets right, got a little bit too fast for ourselves.

“You all were very small in there without (freshman Rhyne) Howard (because of foul trouble). Howard is by far the freshman of the year (in the SEC). She’s a great player. Someday you’ll probably see her up in the raptors  (in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame) but right now you just enjoy Taylor Murray and Maci Morris. Two great seniors that have done a tremendous job that are a load to guard.”

Morris had 11 points — all in the second half — and Murray had nine and Howard seven.

“Our game plan was to simply limit Morris’ touches and watch her,” Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter, who had 24 points, said. “She is a great 3-point shooter. Defensively I felt that we all did a great job of corralling the ball, staying in our gaps and contesting shots and getting offensive and defensive rebounds. Our game was just to stay in the gaps and stay with our man.”

Morris credited Texas A&M for the way it played defense.

“Texas A&M is a really tough team, so we got to give them credit for keeping the lead there at the end,” Morris said. “I just have to be better for my team and focus more and step up to the plate when people do that to me. My teammates have been doing a really great job of stepping up, so it’s on me to do that.”

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