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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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Carter’s game winning three-pointer seals 17 point comeback for A&M

Photo by Courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

During the DePaul University Blue Demons vs. Texas A&M University Aggies NCAA women’s college basketball tournament second-round game at Reed Arena on Sunday March 18, 2018 in College Station, Texas.

Everyone in Reed Arena knew Chennedy Carter was going to take the final shot.
Texas A&M’s freshman point guard had indeed nearly single-handedly led the Aggies back from 17 points down to defeat DePaul. And with 3.2 seconds left, Carter drained a three-pointer from the right side of the key in transition to put A&M ahead 80-79.
“For once in my life, I zipped it,” A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “I didn’t tell her take the three. I really would have wanted the drive, but I didn’t tell her one thing on that last shot. When she was on the roll, I don’t know how many shots she made in a row in that last quarter; but it was pretty special.”
Then, with 1.5 seconds to go, forward Jasmine Lumpkin stole the Blue Demons’ in-bound pass to seal the victory, sending A&M (26-9) to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014 with the win Sunday afternoon.
“I know my role is defense, so they wanted me on the ball and they’re confident with me doing that,” Lumpkin said. “I knew last year around this time, too, I got a big steal. I’m just happy to get that steal for the team, so we can keep it moving.”
In the second half alone, Carter scored 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including a 7-of-8 mark from three-point range.
It was an exceptional turnaround for Carter, who went 1-of-8 from the field in the first half.
“We had a good talk in the locker room,” Carter said. “The thing that brought us together was coach [Blair] got us really hunkered down.”
Down the stretch, Blair was yelling at his players to get the ball to Carter. DePaul knew what was coming, but was unable to stop Carter.
“She’s just a great player and so she could get to the the rim,” DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. “She still was very much on fire. We didn’t do anything to stop it.”
Additionally, A&M forward Anriel Howard scored 18 points, adding 19 rebounds. Her efforts were needed, as A&M center Khaalia Hillsman was stifled all game, finishing with just six points on 1-of-4 shooting.
“We had to have it,” Blair said of Howard’s efforts. “We said before the ball game, our 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s had to get the defensive rebounds because as many 3s as they were going to shoot, they were going to shoot 30 no matter if they were playing us or Connecticut. … Anriel Howard, she’s done it all year.”
For the first time in his 46 years of coaching, Blair gave the game ball to a player.
“I gave a game ball for the first time in my career to one of our players, and I gave it to Anriel Howard because of how she played the game,” Blair said. “She refuses to let us lose. There isn’t a player like her in the country.”
While Carter carried the Aggies, Bruno said A&M’s ability to tighten up on defense allowed the team to make the double-digit comeback.
During the second-half run, the crowd at Reed Arena progressively got louder, fueling the Aggies.
“Every time we came back or we would get a bucket, we would come back on defense and you could just hear them screaming, and I think that really affected DePaul,” Howard said. “For us, it just gave us the motivation, knowing right there they’re supporting us. Maybe they’re not on the court, but they’re supporting us through the whole thing.”
DePaul dominated the first half, taking a 43-28 lead at the break.
The Blue Demons were stellar in the second quarter, outscoring the Aggies 27-14 while shooting 64.7 percent from the field.
“We’ve had many revivals all year with this team because we’ve not been a second-quarter team all year long,” Blair said. “We find a way in the third and fourth quarter.”
A&M advances to the Sweet 16 and will face Notre Dame next Saturday in Spokane, Washington. In 2011, A&M took down the Fighting Irish to win the national championship.
“The pressure is off,” Blair said. “We will be totally relaxed once we go to Spokane. And odds are, we’ll be back on the TV screen watching tonight the Notre Dame game.”

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