Aggies Earn 69-47 First-Round Victory
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Tyra White had started 87 straight games before missing the last three with a foot injury.
On Saturday, the Texas A&M star looked like her old self, scoring 18 points with seven rebounds to lead the defending national champion Aggies to a 69-47 win over Albany in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
She got going early, scoring 12 points in the first half, and added four points and a steal in a decisive second-half run.
The Great Danes had scored six straight points to tie it early in the second half before A&M used a 17-4 run to take a 49-36 lead with about 13 minutes remaining.
The third-seeded Aggies (23-10) were making their school-record seventh straight tournament appearance and hosting games for the first time since 1994. It was the first NCAA appearance for No. 14 seed Albany, which got an automatic bid by winning the America East tournament.
The Great Danes, who moved to Division I in 1999, won 10 straight games to get into the tournament and hadn't lost since Jan. 28.
Ebone Henry had 14 points and nine rebounds and Julie Forster added eight points and 12 rebounds for Albany (23-10), which won 20 games for the first time since jumping to Division I.
Standish, a freshman, had 12 points - all on 3-pointers - for A&M and Adaora Elonu chipped in 13 points and three steals.
The victory sets up Monday's game with sixth-seeded Arkansas, where Gary Blair coached before coming to A&M. The Razorbacks knocked off Dayton in the first game in College Station on Saturday.
The Great Danes' 24 turnovers were just one off a season high, and the Aggies turned those miscues into 29 points. That scoring helped offset Albany's dominance of the boards, where it outrebounded A&M 48-33.
Albany started 6-foot-8 freshman Megan Craig for just the second time this season in an attempt to deal with Texas A&M's size. She finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
The Great Danes didn't look like tournament rookies, leading early and staying with the Aggies for the entire first half. Texas A&M led 30-26 at the break.
- For the 16th time this season, Texas A&M used the starting lineup of Alexia Standish, Sydney Carter, Tyra White, Adaora Elonu and Kelsey Bone...The Aggies are 11-5 with this starting lineup.
- Texas A&M improves to 1-0 in its first meeting with Albany.
- The Aggies move to 16-7 all-time in NCAA postseason play in their ninth all-time appearance. In addition, they have won seven straight NCAA Tournament games.
- A&M is 7-2 all-time in the NCAA First Round and has won six straight first-round games. In addition, the Aggies are 1-0 against the No. 14 seed.
- The Aggies are 9-6 on national TV this season.
- The Aggies are 19-2 when leading at the half.
- Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair is now 14-5 at A&M and 28-16 in his career in NCAA Tournament games.
- A&M snapped a 10-game winning streak for Albany.
- For just the seventh time this season, A&M made five or more 3-point field goals.
- The Aggies outscored the Great Danes 29-14 off turnovers.
- In the second half, A&M shot 55 percent from the floor and held Albany to just 28 percent.
- With three steals, Carter moved into ninth place on the all-time list with 201 steals.
- Elonu set a new A&M individual record for most games played with her 139th contest today.
- White scored in double figures for the 26th time this season, Elonu for the 21st time and Standish for the fifth, including three of the last four games.
- White's 18 points matched her NCAA Tournament career best and it was her eighth straight postseason game in double figures.
- Elonu's three steals were an NCAA Tournament career best.
- Karla Gilbert had a season and NCAA Tournament career-best four blocked shots.
- Standish remains hot from beyond the arc shooting 65.4 percent (17-26) over last seven games.