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Texas A&M defeats Stanford to reach title game

Meaghan Veselik | Monday, April 4, 2011

Three-quarters of the arena were on their feet, cheering for Texas A&M (32-5) Sunday night as the Aggies were moments away from taking Stanford (33-3) out of the running. Despite Cardinal junior forward Nneka Ogwumike’s layup at :09, Stanford could not land itself in the Championship game, as Aggies’ senior guard Sydney Colson got the ball to junior guard Tyra White, who knocked down the game winner with three seconds to go, giving the Aggies a 63-62 victory.

“It came down to the little things,” freshman Chiney Ogwumike said after the game. “We got down, but were able to fight back against their pressure. The game really could have gone either way.”

But it fell the Aggies way, earning Texas A&M its second straight upset and its first trip to the National Championship in program history, coming back after starting the second half down 27-23.

Sydney Carter, who put up 14 points, said she knew that her team had it in them.

“I just think we got back to doing what we normally do. We’re never out of a game,” the Aggie junior guard said. “We’re a team that doesn’t give up and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right thing at the right time.”

And they did, bringing it all down to the final moments and a lot of teamwork. While Stanford relied primarily on the talents of the older Ogwumike sister’s 31 points and only one other player scoring in double digits, Texas A&M allowed their scoring depth to shine. White led the Aggies with 18 points, followed close behind by senior forward Danielle Adams’ 16 and six rebounds.

Stanford senior guard Jeannette Pohlen ended her career with a bang. She exited the game with three seconds left with a leg injury and 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Melanie Murphy fouled out with :53 to play, but not before putting eight points on the board to be the Cardinal’s third leading scorer.

Murphy wasn’t the only Cardinal to foul out, though, in a very physical match-up. Chiney Ogwumike did as well, exiting the floor with four points and just as many rebounds.

“It hurts, and it’s hard to put into words,” she said. “We tried our best and gave it all we had but unfortunately we came up short. We have done some incredible things this year, but out main goal was to win a national championship, so it hurts.”

Nneka Ogwumike said that although the Cardinal worked to get the ball to whoever was open and not rely on a certain person, it didn’t work out. 

“I think we really, really relied on each other towards the end but it didn’t really work out. And I definitely think that Texas A&M is a really excellent team,” Nneka Ogwumike said.

The Aggies know that the road ahead is not an easy one, but are ready to take it as far as they can on Tuesday.

“I know we’re going to have to play as hard as we did against Stanford,” junior forward Adaora Elonu said. “We expect them to come out hard. They’re very talented so we have to be on our game and focus. We’ll match up pretty well as long as we stick to our game plan, box out and be physical and aggressive and play smart.”