Adams carries Aggies to title
Former junior college player leads Texas A&M against Irish
Danielle Adams spent two years at Jefferson College.
She worked to drop 40 pounds and continue to improve her game going into her senior season with the Aggies.
She became the first All-American in Texas A&M Women’s Basketball history.
And on Tuesday night in Indianapolis Danielle Adams put her foul-riddled team on her back and scored 30 points to lead Texas A&M to its first NCAA Championship in program history en route to Most Outstanding Player honors.
“I had a little voice in my head that said don’t let this team down,” said Adams. “My teammates, every time we’d get down, we’d tell each other we’re not going to lose this game. We fought hard from day one, 6 a.m. practice we worked hard this whole season to prepare for this point. I took the game over. I wasn’t going to let my team lose. They’ve been doing everything for me so I decided to take them on my back.”
Adams scored 22 of her 30 points after halftime and didn’t miss her first shot from the floor until 2:47 remained in the game. She was 9-for-11 from the floor in the second half, playing with three fouls for the final 17:47.
Foul trouble was rife for the Aggies, with the team’s entire starting five playing with at least three fouls for the last 6:14 of the game. Only Sydney Carter would foul out, committing her fifth foul with 40 seconds remaining.
Senior point guard Sydney Colson had three first half fouls and rode the bench for 10 of the first 20 minutes, but came out of the locker room focused and played the entire second half.
“We found a way,” said Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair, who became the oldest coach to win an NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. “I really do not like to coach as hard as I had to tonight and use the whip a little, but they responded. Danielle Adams responded at halftime on what was open and to quit shooting the jump shot and go inside and get them into foul trouble. Sydney Colson responded by playing the game the correct way like a point guard should. Tyra White, two seconds to play, we had a lob play called for Danielle and they put three people on her. The second option was Tyra was coming off and with a jump shot with a high release like that, she has no fear.”
For the second time in as many games, White provided the fatal blow to the Aggies opponents. With 1:07 left on the clock and just two ticks remaining on the shot clock, the rebound for Adams’ first miss of the half landed out of bounds, giving Texas A&M the ball out of bounds. White drilled a three-pointer to give the Aggies a 73-68 lead.
“That was a knife right in my heart,” said Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw. “That was the game.”
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“I really didn’t know the ball was coming to me,” said White, whose layup with 3.3 seconds remaining defeated Stanford in Sunday’s National Semifinal game. “The play was designed for Danielle, but when I came off, I seen they were triple-team her and I knew Colson was going to pass me the ball because she’s smart like that, so I just wanted to hit it. Kinda hit my elbow, too, so I didn’t really think it was going to go in, but it did.”
While White’s three-pointer was the straw that broke the camel’s back, it was Adams who carried the load for the Aggies. Her 30 points in the game is the second-highest total in NCAA Championship Game history, behind only Sheryl Swoopes’ record 47 points in 1993. Adams’ 30 points also ranks as the 11th most points ever in a final four game.
Adams was 13-for-22 from the floor in the game, adding nine rebounds. Her second half accuracy contributed to A&M’s 54.7 percent mark from the field, tied for the fourth highest in championship game history.
“I knew the second half was mine,” said Adams. I just had to be patient and let the offense come to me. Just being patient. Not rushing anything. That’s what I did, just dominated. I got as far down the post as I could and got to the rim.”
Although her Aggie career is complete, Adams has confidence that her teammates can make another run at a title next season.
“Next year, it won’t be any different,” said Adams. “Going to work hard from day one and prepare for this point again. I mean, we hope to get back to the Final Four next year with the class we have coming in, and (sophomore transfer) Kelsey Bone has been a tremendous asset to this team this year in practices, pushing me around down low. She has helped me out a lot.”
The Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 Women’s Final Four had predicted this win earlier in the week in a video on the A&M website.
“I remember those words,” said Adams, “and I was pretty confident about it. I knew how hard these girls had worked and how hard I worked, and the coaching staff had worked and I just knew we were going to take it home. We let it slip up in the Stanford game, but we fought through and came back.
“And tonight, we just gave it all we had and left it on the floor. I predicted it.”
• The Aggies and head coach Gary Blair defeated five consecutive members of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame en route to the NCAA title. Following an opening-round win against McNeese State, Blair’s squad faced a Rutgers team coached by C. Vivian Stringer (a 70-48 win), Georgia and head coach Andy Landers (79-38) in the regional semifinal, Baylor and head coach Kim Mulkey (58-46) in the regional final and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer (63-62) in the national semifinal. Notre Dame’s Muffett McGraw will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on June 11 in Knoxville, Tenn.
• This is the second NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship for the Big 12 Conference. The Aggies join Baylor, who won in 2005, also in Indianapolis.
• This is Texas A&M’s seventh NCAA Championship and fifth by a women’s program. The Aggie softball team won the 1983 and 1987 titles and the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams have both won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2009 and 2010.