<
>

Freshman Elonu powers Texas A&M's rout of Stephen F. Austin

NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Facing his former team in the finale of a six-game road trip, Texas A&M coach Gary Blair was a bit concerned his undefeated squad would slip up against Stephen F. Austin.

Turned out he had nothing to worry about.

Freshman forward Adaora Elonu had 17 points, and Tyra White and Tanisha Smith added 13 apiece to lead Texas A&M (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) over Stephen F. Austin 77-36 on Tuesday night.

Blair was 210-43 in eight seasons as coach at Stephen F. Austin during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame at halftime.

"It was a trap game," Blair said. "I'm coming back to play where I coached and they're honoring me at halftime."

Elonu shot 8-of-11 for the Aggies (7-0), who defeated Pepperdine 70-60 on Saturday and returned to College Station the next day before traveling to Stephen F. Austin on Monday.

Texas A&M jumped out to an 8-0 lead and allowed only four field goals in the first half while building a 33-12 advantage. The Aggies played reserves for much of the second half.

They held Stephen F. Austin to 12 field goals in all, including one 3-pointer, and forced 29 turnovers. The Ladyjacks shot 25 percent from the floor.

"In parts of our games, we have played some really good defense," Blair said. "Teams are having a hard time against us."

Stephen F. Austin was led by Natashia Green's 12 points.

Aggies star point guard Takia Starks scored four points on 2-of-9 shooting in 30 minutes. But while Starks had an off game, it didn't hurt because of the strong play of the Aggies' bench. Texas A&M used 15 players, and 11 scored.

"They can play," Blair said of his reserves. "We were running as many combinations in there as we could. They needed some playing time."

The Aggies never trailed in this one, with Stephen F. Austin (4-3) falling behind 19-7 after 12 minutes and trailing by more than 20 points throughout the second half.

Two of the Ladyjacks' three losses have been to ranked teams. They lost 77-42 to Baylor, currently ranked No. 10.

"We didn't attack them," Stephen F. Austin coach Lee Ann Riley said. "When we got open shots, we missed them. Their defense took us out of rhythm. They took us out of everything that we tried to do."