TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Ten years after the teams' last meeting,
TCU showed it's not the same team Texas A&M used to dominate.
Ashley Davis had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and 11th-seeded TCU
beat the sixth-seeded Aggies 69-65 Sunday night in the first round
of the NCAA tournament.
TCU (19-11) snapped a 13-game losing streak to its former rival,
and beat them for just the third time in 30 meetings. The Horned
Frogs were just 2-27 against the Aggies when both were in the
Southwest Conference before the league dissolved after the 1995-96
"We exercised patience, and we pushed the ball and it surprised
them at times," TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. "We made some big
shots when needed to."
TCU reached the second round for the fifth time in six years,
and will face local favorite Rutgers in the second round of the
Cleveland Regional on Tuesday night.
The Horned Frogs were playing without leading scorer and
rebounder Natasha Lacy, who missed the game to attend to a personal
matter. Lacy is expected to miss Tuesday's game, but could possibly
return if TCU advances further.
"We all knew with Tasha being out we were going to have to step
up," Davis said. "That wasn't a question in anybody's mind. I
just thought that personally I knew I had to step up. I just went
out there and let the game come to me. I just executed the game
plan and we just stuck with it as a team."
Moneka Knight scored 11 of her 14 points in the final 8½ minutes
to help TCU hold on after leading by 16 in the first half.
"They have some young players and we designed the defense early
to try and not give them anything easy," Mittie said. "I thought
players did an excellent job of that."
Takia Starks had 18 points and Morenike Atunrase added 14 for
the Aggies (24-8), who were back in the tournament for the first
time since 1996 and third overall.
"TCU did a great job playing pressure up on the ball," A&M's
A'Quonesia Franklin said. "They had the zone spread out wide. We
needed to penetrate more. The open jump shots we didn't get in the
first half, we got late in the second half."
Atunrase brought A&M within three points twice in the final 3
minutes, the second pulling it to 62-59 with 2:05 remaining.
However, Lorie Butler-Rayford and Knight both hit three free throws
in the final minute for TCU.
The Horned Frogs finished 26-for-32 (81 percent) from the
Butler-Rayford finished with 11 rebounds.
The Horned Frogs were considered a bubble team after going 2-9
against ranked teams, but won six of their last eight games to earn
an at-large bid.
Neither team shot well in the first half, as TCU was 11-for-28
(39 percent) and A&M was 6-for-30 (20 percent). The Aggies were
just 1-for-12 on 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, but 7-for-20
in the second half.
"We were living and dying by 3s," Aggies coach Gary Blair
said. "We haven't done that all year but we felt like we were
struggling against that flat 2-3 zone."
Vanessa Clementino made consecutive baskets to give TCU a 26-10
lead with 4:47 left in the first half, before A&M started coming
"They're an athletic team and I think as a team we all stopped
their penetration and it wasn't specifically towards anyone because
they're all capable of putting the ball on the floor," TCU's
Adrianne Ross said.
Franklin made two free throws with just over 11 seconds left in
the half to cut the Aggies' deficit to 33-25, but Davis hit a 3 at
the buzzer to send TCU into the break with an 11-point lead.
"We were lucky to only be 11 down at half," Blair said. "I
thought we did a great job in the second half try to get back in.
Every time we cut it, we made a foul and they made free throws."
Starks had just five points on 2-for-8 shooting in the first
half, before finishing 7-for-19.
"The first half, I was a little anxious shooting," Starks
said. "I kind of forced the shot instead of letting it come to me.
In the second half, I settled down."