Texas A&M earns fifth straight victory

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M is on a roll. And it couldn't have come at a better time.

The Aggies (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) beat Oklahoma State 79-49 Thursday night for their fifth straight win and are hoping it gives them momentum heading into their regular-season finale against Baylor.

Takia Starks and Tanisha Smith scored 18 points each in the win that put them in a tie with the Bears for second place in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma.

"I hope the best stretch is in front of us," coach Gary Blair said. "We're playing well. We're believing in ourselves. Everything we're doing is up. Hopefully we're on a roll because Baylor is the game we really want."

Texas A&M (23-5, 11-4 Big 12) led throughout and opened the second half with an 11-2 run to stretch its lead to 50-29 with about 16 minutes left. Smith made six points in that span.

A 3-pointer by Sydney Carter with about five minutes left pushed A&M's lead to 74-42 and Blair played reserves the rest of the game.

The Aggies took advantage of 22 Oklahoma State turnovers to score 27 points. They outscored the Cowgirls 19-0 on fast breaks.

Smith said winning this game was key in reaching their goal of being the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

"It was a must win, to be truthful," she said.

Oklahoma State (15-13, 4-11) got 15 points from Andrea Riley as the Cowgirls lost their fourth straight. Oklahoma State shot 33 percent overall and Riley made just three of 14 shots and was 1-of-7 on 3-pointers.

Starks is impressed with the way her team has improved in the last few weeks. Before the current streak, the Aggies had lost two of three games.

"It came sort of at the end, but, hey, better late than never," she said.

After losing by 10 to No. 3 Oklahoma in their last game, the Cowgirls suffered their worst loss of the season Thursday.

Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke wasn't in the mood to talk much after the game.

"There's really nothing to say," he said before complimenting the Aggies.

When asked what the problem with his team was Thursday he said: "No idea." When pressed about how they looked he said: "Flat."

As if getting blown out weren't bad enough, there was also the matter of the brief shoving match on the Cowgirls' bench between Riley and trainer Amy Shipman. It was unclear what started the altercation, but it ended with Riley storming away and the two avoiding each other the rest of the game.

"I have no idea what you are talking about," Budke said before leaving the interview room.

Sydney Colson added 14 points for Texas A&M, and Danielle Gant had 11 points.

Gant said the Cowgirls were different Thursday than the team they prepared for.

"I think they didn't push it in transition a lot," Gant said. "On film, Riley was always pushing it in transition. I didn't think she did it that much tonight."

The Aggies had a 21-point lead with about eight minutes left in the first half before Oklahoma State went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 31-21 four minutes later.

Texas A&M led 39-27 at halftime.