Texas A&M squad filled with offensive threats
On the day Danielle Adams became Texas A&M's first first-team All-American she didn't score in the first 20 minutes of the team's regional final against Baylor.
It didn't matter.
Sydney Carter scored 15 first-half points to lead the Aggies to a 32-21 lead at the break and A&M went on to a 58-46 win over the Lady Bears.
It was a game highlighting the many offensive weapons the Aggies have. Adams averages 22.3 points a game to lead the team and was the top scorer in the Big 12 in the regular season. But five other players have been the high scorer at least once each this season.
''I think that's what makes us really effective is that people don't really know who to guard out there,'' Carter said. ''So it puts a question mark out like: 'Who do we need to put emphasis on? I think everybody needs to play us honest and be like: 'That person is a legitimate scorer and so is she,' so it makes it hard for them.''
The Aggies face Stanford on Sunday in Texas A&M's first trip to the Final Four.
Tyra White is scoring 13.6 points a game and Carter averages 10.5. Sydney Colson and Adaora Elonu round out the starting lineup and average 8.5 and 8 points, respectively.
Coach Gary Blair believes everyone will need to step up when the Aggies face Stanford in the Final Four on Sunday.
''The best player at the Final Four is Maya Moore since (Brittney) Griner didn't make it,'' Blair said. ''You'd have to say (Connecticut's) always the favorite until someone knocks them off, but I think Stanford might have the best overall team that's there. You're looking at a team that's been to four straight Final Fours. They've knocked on the door, but they haven't figured out how to win it like they did in the '90s.''
Adams finished with a season-low six points against Baylor. She wasn't upset about the low-scoring effort because the Aggies still found a way to win.
''Carter stepped up and hit shots,'' Adams said. ''We were satisfied with that. We were happy with that. We just gave an all-around team effort.''
The Aggies have had three players score in double figures in each of their four tournament wins. They beat McNeese State, Rutgers and Georgia before the victory over Baylor to get to their first Final Four.
Carter likes the unselfishness of Adams and the vision she had against the Lady Bears.
''If Danielle doesn't have a 30-point game people like me or Tyra can step up,'' Carter said. ''I think she makes our job a little bit easier seeing that if she knows she's not having a great night she'll pass the ball to us.''
Another factor in Texas A&M surviving in the tournament without a big offensive game from Adams was its defense. They have held each of their four tournament opponents to under 50 points. They are just the second team in tournament history, joining LSU in 2005, to achieve that feat.
The Aggies defense is led by longtime assistant coach Vic Schaefer, who Blair calls his defensive coordinator. Colson and the rest of the Texas A&M squad rave about the work he has done in making the Aggies one of the toughest defensive teams in the country.
They'll need to keep it up against a Stanford team that is scoring almost 80 points a game and has three players averaging more than 12 points a game.
''They've lost three straight years in the Final Four, so hopefully we can turn it into four in a row,'' Blair said. ''But we will not even think about the other two (teams) because we are concentrating on who I believe is the best.''