Carter leads No. 8 Texas A&M into Big 12 final

Texas A&M is back in the Big 12 tournament finals for a

fourth consecutive year, and the Aggies didn’t need a big scoring

game from Danielle Adams to get there.

Oklahoma held the Big 12’s leading scorer to 16 points – seven

below her average – but the No. 8 Aggies easily beat the No. 21

Sooners 81-68 to advanced to the championship game Saturday against

No. 3 Baylor.

”The key to it in this tournament is to quit waiting for

Danielle to score 40 and have balanced scoring,” Texas A&M

coach Gary Blair said. ”That’s what we had.”

Adams was limited to 27 minutes because of foul trouble, but

guard Sydney Carter came up huge in the second half, scoring all of

her 19 points in the final 20 minutes. The Sooners trailed by seven

points at the half and Carter had the solution every time Oklahoma

tried to make a run in the second half.

Tyra White chipped in 18 points and Adams contributed 11

rebounds as the Aggies (27-4) defeated Oklahoma for a fifth

consecutive time.

Carter finished 6 of 12 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from

3-point range. She was limited to just 7 minutes in the first half

because of foul trouble.

”They left me open, so I just knocked down the shots in the

second half,” Carter said.

Adams was happy to see her teammates come through on a day when

she wasn’t at her best.

”I’m just glad I have teammates like that backing me up,”

Adams said. ”Carter came out hot in the second half and Tyra is

always going to do her thing.”

Baylor, which defeated Kansas State 86-53 in the earlier

semifinal, has a pair of victories over Texas A&M this season.

The Lady Bears won 63-60 in College Station and 67-58 in Waco. ”We

want to play Baylor four times,” Blair said. ”If we do, we’ll be

in the Final Four. That’s how good Baylor is.”

Oklahoma (21-11) pulled to 43-41 early in the second half, but

the Aggies went on an 11-0 run to gain control. Whitney Hand scored

21 points and 6-foot-6 Nicole Griffin had 12 points – hitting all

six of her shots – and eight rebounds for the Sooners.

”Griffin makes a lot of difference,” Blair said. ”She alters

shots, detours shots. With her in the lineup, I think Oklahoma will

be very good in the NCAA tournament.”

The Aggies will be looking for their third Big 12 tournament

title in four years after winning in 2008 and 2010.

”I’d like to challenge Kansas City to come out and see two of

the top teams in the country, not just the Big 12,” Blair

said.

The second-seeded Aggies will be trying to break a

tournament-long trend in which the higher seed has won each

game.

White said the key on Saturday will be limiting turnovers and

not allowing Baylor easy transition opportunities.

”We have to keep our composure,” White said. ”That’s what

happened at Waco. We had a lead and let it slip away.”

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale liked the way her team competed, but

a failure to slow Carter late kept the Sooners in comeback

mode.

”Carter killed us in the second half,” Coale said. ”She went

on a tear for 10 minutes and we couldn’t get an answer for

her.”