Texas A&M Defeats Notre Dame for NCAA Women's Basketball Championship
If you missed the game last night, I hope you can find a replay somewhere. There was no down time. No chance for bathroom breaks -- except when ESPN extended a timeout to interview Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, forgetting that he...doesn't abbreviate his thoughts -- and near the end, there wasn't much chance to breathe either.
The Aggies pulled out a 76-70 win, though the game was much closer than that score. Tyra White, who is garnering a fantastic reputation for clutch plays, put the nail in the coffin by sinking two free throws with 12 seconds left on the clock to extend her team's lead to 5 and ND's hopes to tie with a three-pointer out of reach.
At halftime, it was a much different story. Notre Dame, who had been down by as much as 13 points early in the half, regained their composure and found momentum as A&M had to bench senior guard Sydney Colson for getting into foul trouble. The Irish led by two by the time the halftime buzzer sounded.
Both teams came out ready to go in the second half, and though A&M had as much as 5 players with 3 fouls, they figured out how to put a lid on it, at least until later in the game, so their starters could remain in the game.
Danielle Adams was a no-brainer for Most Outstanding Player, as she scored 30 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Tyra White scored 18 points, but more importantly came up with big plays in the final minutes to keep the Aggies in it.
As for the Irish, Skylar Diggins had a solid night with 23 points. It wasn't the game she had Sunday against UConn, but the sophomore has a bright career ahead of her, no argument there. And if she manages her ever-rising star power well, she could bring some new fans to women's basketball. Teammate Devereaux Peters was a candidate for player of the night, putting up 21 points and bringing down 11 rebounds, the only double-double of the night.
© John Mersits/Southcreek Global/ZUMAPRESS.com
Texas A&M Coach Gary Blair said they had "Aggies from all over the world emailing us, from Afghanistan, everywhere -- getting up at 4am to watch the game. We have soldiers fighting all over the world for us to be able to play this little game of basketball and enjoy all the other freedoms we have."
Blair went on to praise the progress of the women's game as well as the host city for putting on a great weekend. Attendance at tonight's game was 17,473, and the crowd was an enthusiastic one. Blair had criticized Indianapolis a bit after Sunday's game.
He also praised the media in the press room, "You're here tonight as media because you want to be here, not because you draw the unlucky straw. You're here because you want to cover women's basketball at the highest level. Tonight, we gave you that game."
They sure did. Thank you ladies. And thank you Gary Blair for talking about the importance of progressing the game, the coverage and the attendance. Also, thank you for dancing.
2011 NCAA All-Tournament Team:
Maya Moore, UConn
Dev Peters, Notre Dame
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame
Tyra White, Texas A&M
Danielle Adams, Texas A&M
Originally published at Women Talk Sports
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