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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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On to the next

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For the eighth-straight year, the Texas A&M women’s basketball team won its first round game of the NCAA tournament, beating North Dakota 70-55 in Reed Arena on Sunday.
The first half had all the makings of a typical March Madness game, with 14-seed UND and 3-seed A&M tied at 26 with just more than a minute to go. After head coach Gary Blair called a timeout, his team scored two quick layups to give the Aggies a four-point lead at halftime.
Blair’s halftime speech to his team was broadcast on ESPN2.
“Well, unfortunately ESPN was in there during my halftime,” Blair said. “My assistants said to me, ‘My gosh, coach, you were so hard on them at halftime there. The whole nation heard that.'”
A&M stormed back onto the court in the second half – scoring 10 straight points to extend its lead to 40-26. From that point, the Aggies never led by less than double digits.
The Aggie defense buckled down from beyond the arch in the second half. After UND made three of four three pointers in the first half, A&M allowed just two three pointers on 11 shots in the second half.
Sophomore point guard Jordan Jones broke A&M’s all-time single-season assist record with her 232nd of the year. Lisa Branch held the previous assists record with 231 in the 1995-96 season. Jones finished with eight points and 11 assists – her fifth-straight game of 10-plus assists. Jones’ 11 assists tied an A&M record for most ever by an Aggie in the NCAA tournament.
When asked what it felt like to break the record, Jones said, “It doesn’t feel like a national championship.”
Sophomore guard Courtney Walker, who was recently named first team All-SEC, scored a team-high 19 points in 34 minutes. Walker shot 50 percent (8-16) from the field and hit 3-of-4 free throws. Walker has been in has been in double figures in the point column for the 10th-straight game, and the 28th time this season.
“As you can tell, me and [Walker] really feed off each other a lot,” Jones said. “We’ve just made that connection with one another. We know where each other are on the floor.”
Senior College Station native Karla Gilbert finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. She extended her A&M single-season blocks record to 64, becoming the first-ever Aggie to block 60 shots in a season. Gilbert held opposing starting center Alyssa Wall to just one point in the game.
Despite the 15-point victory, Gilbert and the rest of the Aggie squad were not pleased with their overall performance.
“One thing that we harp on is to not sell ourselves short,” Gilbert said. “By far, this was one of the worst games that we’ve played. I’m glad that we were able to pull it up and at least pick it up in the second half.”
A&M returns to action Tuesday when it hosts 11-seed James Madison Tuesday at Reed Arena.

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