Tennessee’s Mercedes Russell attempted a potential game-tying baseline attempt that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded. Tennessee (16-9, 7-5 Southeastern Conference) missed its last 11 field-goal attempts and Texas A&M (19-6, 9-3) outscored the Lady Vols 14-1 over the final 8½ minutes.
The result likely will knock Tennessee out of the Top 25. The Lady Vols had returned to the rankings last Monday after an eight-week absence.
After trailing by 11 early in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M rallied to tie it at 59 on Curtyce Knox’s 3-pointer with 2:44 left.
Texas A&M had the ball twice with a chance to break the tie but missed three shots on one possession and had Jasmine Lumpkin travel on its next possession.
But after Diamond DeShields missed a jumper with 39 seconds left, the Aggies had one more chance to take the lead. This time, they cashed in when Hillsman got a putback off a missed shot by Danni Williams.
Williams led the Aggies with 18 points. Hillsman had 10 points and 15 rebounds. Knox added 10 points and 10 assists.
Russell had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee. Alexa Middleton scored 14 points.
Tennessee never trailed in the first half and withstood DeShields’ foul trouble to lead 38-32 at intermission. The Lady Vols were ahead 26-19 with 7:51 left in the second quarter when DeShields picked up her second foul, causing her to sit out the remainder of the first half.
Texas A&M took its first lead of the day on Lumpkin’s jumper in the paint with 2:17 left in the third quarter. Tennessee’s Alexa Middleton responded by sinking consecutive 3-pointers to spark a 12-0 run that put the Lady Vols ahead 58-47 with 8:49 remaining.
But the Lady Vols scored just one more point the rest of the night.