INDIANAPOLIS - Texas A&M's defense was good enough to upset two No. 1 seeds. The Aggies will find out Tuesday night if it is good enough to win their first national championship.
Sydney Colson drove the length of the floor and found a cutting Tyra White for a layup with 3.3 seconds remaining to give the Aggies a thrilling 63-62 victory Sunday over No. 1-seeded Stanford. The teams traded the lead five times in the final minute, capping A&M’s remarkable rally from a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes.
And they’re not finished yet.
“It’s time to make history,” Colson said.
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The Aggies (32-5) already have done that by punching their first ticket to the title game. Beat Notre Dame, an upset winner over Connecticut, on Tuesday night and the Aggies (32-5) will have far more to celebrate in a season when the program produced its first All-American, Danielle Adams, and broke through on the national stage by beating Baylor last week.
“Give credit,” coach Gary Blair said after winning his first semifinal game. “Defense will win for you.”
When Stanford took a 54-44 lead with 6:01 to play, most people inside Conseco Fieldhouse thought the Cardinal was bound for its third title game in four years.
The Aggies — and that oppressive defense — had other thoughts.
Stanford (33-3) managed only two more baskets, and the Aggies’ aggressive offense helped them rally.
“I thought we played very well to get the lead,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We had to do some things that we don’t have to do all season long against anyone else.”
That was the plan.
The A&M players said they wanted to make Stanford uncomfortable.
Colson gave Texas A&M a 59-58 lead by making two free throws with 53 seconds to go.
Eighteen seconds later, Adams was called for a foul on Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike.
Ogwumike made both free throws to give Stanford a 60-59 lead.
“It was hectic, you know,” Aggies guard Sydney Carter said. “Everybody was saying 30 seconds for the rest of y’all’s lives.”
Turns out 30 seconds was still an eternity in this game.
White made a layup for A&M with 19 seconds to go, only to have Ogwumike answer with a tough layup of her own with 9 seconds to play. Stanford led, 62-61.
The Aggies, without a timeout, immediately got the ball to Colson, who raced up the floor and dished to White for the winner.
White finished with 18 points, and a slow-starting Adams had 16 points to lead the Aggies.
The Cardinal were led by Ogwumike’s 31 points and Jeanette Pohlen’s 11.