Members of Tyra White’s family, occupying the first five rows at Municipal Auditorium, held up a large poster of the Texas A&M star guard during time outs on Thursday night.
That’s as close as White got to being part of the game.
White, a former standout at Hickman Mills High School, sat out the Big 12 Conference Women’s Tournament quarterfinal against Kansas because of what coach Gary Blair called “a hot spot on the fifth metatarsal” of her left foot.
The defending national champion Aggies managed without White as they defeated the Jayhawks 78-63 and advanced to a semifinal at 7:30 tonight against Oklahoma, a 70-59 winner over Missouri.
Aggie freshman point guard Alexia Standish more than picked up the slack for White. Standish, who has scored in double figures in just two games all season, scored a career-best 25 points, including six of nine from three-point range.
White, a former standout at Hickman Mills High School, did not practice on Wednesday when the Aggies practiced at her alma mater. She was dressed in A&M warmups but did not go through pregame drills. White, a 6-0 guard who averages 13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, had started 87 straight games for the Aggies.
“It’s heartbreaking for her to come back to her hometown and not be able to play,” said her mother, Betty White, “but we’re here to support the rest of the girls. We’re taking it one day at a time.”
Blair said White, who injured the foot in the regular-season finale against Texas on March 4, is doubtful for today’s game against Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m.
“If somehow we can get by Oklahoma she’s at her hometown here, we’ll see,” Blair said. “But we don’t want to do anything that could snap that thing and turn it into a fracture, ane we won’t have her for the (NCAA) tournament. But we have other kids on scholarship, and they stood up today.”
Especially Standish, a part-time starter at point guard whose season best was 13 points against Texas Tech on Feb. 25.
“My role is just to be a point guard,” said Standish. “If I’m open, shoot the three. Tonight I was open. I just took what I had to take, and I guess I helped out our team since we were missing our leading scorer.”
When word reached the players that White would not be playing, some were alarmed.
“Everybody said, ‘Oh my gosh, Tyra’s not playing,” said veteran guard Sydney Carter, who scored 18 points, had seven rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. “The main focus was our defense. If we could get out defense going like it usually is, we could get our offense going. (Standish) was hitting shots. Any time you have somebody hot, you keep giving it to them.”
Kansas, 19-12, led 30-27 late in the first half when junior guard Angel Goodrich, who finished with 21 points, banked in a three-pointer as the shot-clock buzzed. But Standish put the Aggies ahead 32-30 at halftime with a drive to the basket and a three-pointer.
“I thought we got sloppy the last two or three minutes of the first half,” said Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson. “We wasted possessions, gave them good looks, turn the ball over and don’t capitalize on the offensive end. Standish got good looks off all those makes that were uncontested. That’s a breakdown on our part.
“Our kids came out and battled just disappointed we didn’t get it done.”
Kansas, which has lost six of eight since leading scorer Carolyn Davis was lost for the season with a knee injury, is still hopeful of receiving its first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1999-2000 but may have to settle for a fifth straight trip to the WNIT.