COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Freshman Chennedy Carter scored 26 points, powering No. 4 Texas A&M to an 89-76 victory over 13th-seed Drake on Friday in the opening round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
Khaalia Hillsman added 22 to help send the Aggies to the second round against DePaul. Carter also had 11 assists and six steals.
A&M had an answer for every comeback try to Drake. Danni Williams hit a 3-pointer with 5:44 left put the Aggies back into a 15-point lead.
Drake got as close as 85-76 when Maddy Dean hit a runner in the lane, but A&M moved down court and passed to Hillsman, who scored easily.
Sara Rhine scored 21 and Becca Hittner had 19 for Drake (26-8).
The Aggies (25-9) broke the game open in the second quarter, building a 57-42 halftime edge. A&M outshot the Bulldogs from 3-point range in the opening half, with Carter and Danni Williams each hitting three of four. Williams hit four of seven 3s overall and scored 18.
Drake led, 28-26 after a fast-paced first quarter where the Bulldogs hit 12 of 17 shots. It the second quarter the Aggies held them to 12 of 17 shooting and Carter scoring 12 of her points as A&M began to build a big edge.
Hillsman played 13 first-half minutes, but A&M’s inside game was efficient. For the game, she made 10 of her 14 shots.. Anriel Howard also contributed inside with some late drives to keep A&M’s lead in double digits. Howard finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Texas A&M moved to the second round on the Aggies’ home court for the second time in the last three years. Anriel Howard, who set an NCAA tournament record with 27 rebounds in A&M’s 2016 first-round home win over Missouri State, led the Aggies with 10 rebounds this year.
Texas A&M will play DePaul Sunday in the second round. The Blue Demons took a 90-79 win over Oklahoma.