Posted by: Sports
Huskers Advance to NCAA Second Round to Take on Texas A&M
No. 24 Nebraska battles a familiar foe in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, when the Huskers take on No. 9 Texas A&M on Monday in College Station, Texas.
Tip-off between the No. 6 seed Huskers (24-8, 12-4 Big Ten) and No. 3 seed Aggies (25-9, 11-5 SEC) at Reed Arena is set for 8:30 p.m., with Carter Blackburn and Maria Taylor on the call for ESPN2.
The Husker Sports Network will provide a live radio broadcast of the game with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch describing the action, including flagships B107.3 FM in Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KFFF in Omaha and 880 AM-KRVN in Lexington. A free live audio stream will be available on Huskers.com.
The Huskers, who have won 12 of their last 14 games, advanced to the second round for the third time in the last six years with a 73-59 victory over No. 11 seed Chattanooga on Saturday. Two-time first-team All-Big Ten forward Jordan Hooper led the Huskers with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the victory. The 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., notched her ninth double-double of the year, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds in the second half. Two-time All-Big Ten point guard Lindsey Moore added 13 points and seven assists, as NU overcame a nine-point deficit (47-38) midway through the second half.
Texas A&M registered its fourth straight win with a 71-45 run past Wichita State. The Aggies trailed the Shockers 20-19 late in the first half before taking a double-digit lead to the locker room at halftime and running to a comfortable win. Kristi Bellock led three Aggies in double figures with 18 points, while Courtney Williams and Kelsey Bone each contributed double figures.
The Huskers own a 14-9 edge in the all-time series with Texas A&M, including a 10-8 mark as Big 12 Conference foes (1996-97-2010-11). A&M won the last meeting, 84-49, in NU's last Big 12 regular-season game on March 3, 2011 at Reed Arena. That Aggie team went on to win the 2011 NCAA title.
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Scouting the Texas A&M Aggies (25-9, 11-5 SEC)
Coach Gary Blair leads his SEC Tournament champion Texas A&M squad to the NCAA Tournament second round for the seventh straight year. The Aggies, who are ranked No. 9 nationally by the Associated Press and 11th by USA Today, opened the 2013 NCAA Tournament with a 71-45 first-round win over Missouri Valley Conference champion Wichita State at Reed Arena in College Station on Saturday.
Last season, the Aggies advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 with two wins on their homecourt at Reed Arena, after winning the 2011 NCAA title.
Texas A&M ran to a 3-0 record in its first SEC Tournament, notching impressive wins over top-20 SEC foes South Carolina (61-52), Tennessee (66-62) and Kentucky (75-67) at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., March 8-10.
The Aggies, who enter the NCAA Tournament with a 25-9 overall record, went 11-5 in SEC regular-season play, suffering four losses in their final five SEC regular-season games. All four of those losses came to SEC foes in the NCAA Tournament, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and LSU. In fact, every loss for the Aggies this season came to a NCAA Tournament team, as A&M opened the year 0-3 with losses to Louisville, Penn State and Connecticut. The Aggies followed with eight straight wins before falling to Notre Dame. Overall, Texas A&M is 10-9 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.
Texas A&M is led on the court by All-SEC center Kelsey Bone. The 6-4 junior is averaging 16.7 points and 9.4 rebounds as an All-America candidate this season. Bone, who scored all 10 of her points in the second half against Wichita State, leads a balanced Aggie attack that also features 6-1 senior guard Kristi Bellock (10.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg), who led A&M with 18 points and six rebounds in the NCAA first-round win over Wichita State. Senior Adrienne Pratcher, a 5-7 point guard, has added 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Pratcher leads A&M with 41 three-pointers, while shooting 39.8 percent on the season.
In addition to the experience provided by Bone, Bellock and Pratcher, Texas A&M features several talented young freshmen, led by Courtney Walker. The 5-8 starting guard is averaging 10.6 points and 4.2 rebounds. Fellow freshman starter Courtney Williams, a 6-1 wing, has added 5.9 points and 2.7 boards per game, including 11 points, six rebounds and four assists Saturday against Wichita State. A third freshman, 5-11 guard Peyton Little, has pitched in 4.6 points and 1.2 boards off the bench, while ranking second on the team with 25 threes.
A fourth freshman, 6-7 center Rachel Mitchell (1.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg) sees action among A&M's top 10 players, behind Karla Gilbert. The 6-5 junior center averages 5.1 points and 3.3 boards spelling Bone off the bench. Sophomore guards Jordan Jones (2.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg) and Tori Scott (2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg) round out the Aggie regulars.
Texas A&M is an efficient offensive team that shoots 45.7 percent from the field, including 35.0 percent from three-point range. The Aggies do not shoot a lot of threes, averaging fewer than 10 long-range attempts per contest. In fact, with 309 attempts on the year, A&M has attempted fewer threes than Nebraska attempted in Big Ten regular-season games only (323). The Aggies are a 68.2 percent free throw shooting team. A&M owns a plus-5.0 team rebounding margin, while averaging 70.1 points per game. A&M is a solid defensive unit, surrendering just 57.3 points per contest, while holding opponents to just 37.6 percent shooting on the year. Aggie foes are shooting just 28.1 percent from three-point range.