Texas A&M makes history again, beats Stanford to reach NCAA tournament final
INDIANAPOLIS – Texas A&M (32-5) extended its historic run in the NCAA tournament Sunday night with a 63-62 victory over No. 1 seed Stanford (33-3) in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis. The Aggies advance to their first national championship game in program history. They also became the first Big 12 team to reach the title game since Baylor won the championship in Indianapolis in 2005. A&M succeeded in beating two No. 1 seeds (Baylor in the Elite Eight and Stanford) to reach the final.
â€œHow about those Aggies? This is what women’s basketball needs,â€ said A&M head coach Gary Blair about the win. â€œIt needs regional final games and semifinal games and final games like this to be able to sometimes wake up America, to be able to give us credit when credit is due.â€
Before arriving in Indiana, the second-seeded and seventh-ranked Aggies beat No. 1 seed Baylor in the Dallas Regional.
A&M players indicated that beating two number one seeds will help their poise going into the championship game.
â€œIt definitely feels great,â€ said Carter about beating Baylor and Stanford. â€œI think it allows us to continue to keep our confident attitude. And we’re just glad that we survived another day. And Coach Blair always says survive and advance. I think we took that attitude in there today.â€
Dignitaries in stands among fans included former Secretary of State and Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice, University of Indiana men’s basketball coach Tom Crean, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard.
From the tip, A&M pounced on Stanford with their trademark relentless defense anchored by guards Sydney Colson and Sydney Carter. A&M forced Stanford into a season-high 22 turnovers. However, Nnemkadi Ogwumike was an offensive force for Stanford and managed to score 16 points by the second half, the only player in double digits on either team at the break.
Stanford went into the locker room with a 27-23 lead. In the second half, the Cardinal wavered in the face of A&Mâ€™s defensive pressure after the Aggies roared back from a ten-point deficit. While the game may have seemed like a done deal when Stanford had a 54-44 lead 6:01, the Aggies still had enough willpower in their tank to close out the game.
Tyra White finishes
Tyra White led A&M in scoring.
The game was decided in the last half minute at the teams were tied at 59 with 35 seconds left on the clock. Ogwumike made two free throws after being fouled by Danielle Adams but A&Mâ€™s leading scorer for the night, Tyra White, came right back with a layup. Ogwumike then made a layup as well but White was back on the other end of the floor with another to seal the game after receiving a dish from Colson as both players raced own the floor with just 3.3 seconds left.
"I just seen her take off and I said I have to catch up really fast," said White of those last seconds. "Then I started sprinting. I figured she was going to pass me the ball. When she passed it to me, I just heard Coach Blair’s voice in my head saying pin the ball. So that’s what I did. I thought the time was up, but it was like three seconds left."
White led her team with 18 points, followed by 16 from Danielle Adams and 14 from Sydney Carter. Adams also pulled down six rebounds.
For Stanford Ogwumike finished with 31 points and seven rebounds. Jeanette Pohlen scored 11 and Kayla Pederson pulled down 10 rebounds.
Texas A&M will face Notre Dame on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN/ESPN3.com.
- Texas A&M finished 10-10 from the free-throw line in the national semifinals, becoming the 15th team to finish perfect from the stripe in a national semifinal game.
- Texas A&M finished with a 21-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
- With 16 points, Danielle Adams scored in double-figures for the 34th time this season.
- The Aggies improved to 32-5, the most victories in school history.
- The Aggies improved to 14-7 all-time in NCAA postseason play in their eighth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. A&M improved to 1-0 in Final Four games.
- NCAA womenâ€™s tournament: Texas A&M takes down Stanford to reach title game (washingtonpost.com)
- Aggies make numbers, intangibles work in thrilling win (aggiesports.com)
- Stanford’s Rice had her own plan (indystar.com)