March 22, 2009

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Texas A&M's smothering defense was too much for upstart Evansville.

The Aggies forced a season-high 30 turnovers, leading to 43 points, and Danielle Gant scored 21 points to lead Texas A&M to an 80-45 victory Sunday over the Purple Aces in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Texas A&M (26-7), a second seed for a second straight year, won an opening-round game for a third straight season. The 15th-seeded Purple Aces (15-19), the only team in the tournament with a losing record, saw their season-long winning streak end at four games.

The Aggies used a 14-0 run early to open a 20-5 lead and a 15-2 run in the second half to put the game away, holding Evansville to 25 percent shooting in the second half.

Tanisha Smith added a career-high 20 points for the Aggies and Takia Starks had 19.