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Texas A&M wears down PSU

Aggies seize control with late first-half run

SEATTLE – Ninth-ranked Texas A&M, the second seed in the Sacramento Regional of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, had too many weapons on offense and too much commitment to defense, overwhelming 15th-seeded Portland State 84-53 in a first-round game Saturday night.

Tanisha Smith, a 6-foot senior guard, led the way with 17 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

“We gave them everything we had,” PSU coach Sherri Murrell said. “Unfortunately, it was just in one half. They’re just long and athletic. I think (A&M coach) Gary Blair’s trainer and manager are more athletic than us and I even looked at the mascot and our mascot is shorter than their mascot.

“I’m proud of our young ladies. They had no fear in their eyes.”

The Vikings (18-15) gave A&M quite a run in the first half before the Aggies (27-6) reeled off the final eight points for a 39-31 lead. In the last minute, PSU had three misses – dropping its shooting percent to 38.7 – two turnovers and a groggy leader after point guard Claire Faucher crashed into the basket stanchion.

The Aggies took control in the second half, consistently going inside to Danielle Adams, who came off the bench to score 14 of her game-high 23 points. Sydney Colson also had 13 points off the bench, where A&M had a 42-15 advantage, and Adaora Elonu had 15 points.

Faucher and Eryn Jones scored 15 apiece for PSU, which ended up shooting just 33 percent with 20 turnovers and a minus-16 rebounding.

“They really stepped up their defensive pressure,” Faucher said. “They’re very active denying the passing lane, very up in us. On offense, it was just the size we’re not used to playing against.

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