ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) – Alex Tchangoue scored 16 points including four free throws with less than 10 seconds left to rally Wake Forest to a 53-46 victory over No. 11 Texas A&M on Friday at the Paradise Jam.
Tiffany Roulhac added 12 points and four assists and Mekia Valentine had four blocks for the Demon Deacons (4-1). Texas A&M (3-1) was led by Takia Starks with 15 points and five rebounds.
The Aggies, who routed Wichita State 70-36 in the first round Thursday, shot a season-low 31 percent (18-of-58) from the floor.
Wake Forest rallied from a 10-point deficit in the first half to take a 45-39 lead with 3:42 remaining on a layup by Valentine. Starks hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 48-46, but Tchangoue sealed the victory at the line.
Texas A&M started quickly, taking an 18-8 first-half lead on back-to-back layups by Danielle Gant, but the Demon Deacons responded with nine-straight points thereafter. Wake Forest played for the last shot of the opening half, and Valentine hit a layup at the buzzer to give WFU its first lead at 23-22.
The Aggies will take on Indiana (4-1) tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. (CT) in their final game of the 2007 Paradise Jam. The Hoosiers improved to 1-1 in tournament play with a 64-54 win over Wichita State (1-3) on Friday.
Live game statistics and live audio will be available via www.AggieAthletics.com. The game will be broadcast live on KZNE 1150 AM radio with Gabe Bock and former player Katy Pounds calling the action live from the UVI Sports & Fitness Center.
Postgame Notes…For the third time this season, A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Ashlaa Horton and La Toya Micheaux…The Aggies are now 2-1 with the starting five…Starks scored a team-high 15 points to extend her double-digit scoring streak to 10 consecutive games…Franklin fouled out of the game with 20 seconds left, but posted a nice stat line with six points, five assists, one steal and four rebounds versus Wake Forest…Despite the loss, the A&M defense forced WFU to commit 23 turnovers in the ballgame…The Demon Deacons became the fourth consecutive A&M opponent to commit 20-or-more turnovers in a contest…Wake Forest takes a 1-0 lead in the all-time series between the two schools…The Aggies were called for 25 fouls which was the second-most of the season next to 27 at SMU on Nov. 9…The score was tied seven times with five lead changes in the ballgame...A&M’s 22 first-half production were the fewest of the season behind 26 first-half points at SMU.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
On the game …
“We probably lost the game in the first half when we had a 20-10 lead and a 10-4 lead. We let them (Wake Forest) catch up and we only scored one point at the end of the half. It wasn’t that we were in foul trouble. We were playing great defense and then all of sudden they started making plays. We played well enough on the defensive end in the first half, but did not do the same in the second half. The press had to be part of our offense, because we were struggling so much on the half court that I had to try to create offense to the press. We lost one basket when they threw over us and T-Kay (Starks) got beat. Other than that, the press was pretty effective tonight.”
On Wake Forest and their pressure defense …
“Give No. 10 a lot of credit for them. Their point guard (Tiffany) Roulhac controlled the whole game. It doesn’t matter that she turned over the ball seven times. We probably would have turned it over that many times against their pressure. I thought she was the difference in the ballgame. They made their free throws. They shot a good percentage and we didn’t make the stops down at the end that we had to. Wake Forest never gave up and they did a good job of staying with it. They made their runs. We had a four-point lead in the second half and then we just started missing shots and making a few turnovers. We were not converting any offensive rebound. I don’t think we converted one the whole ballgame. That is something we are going to have to work on.”
On looking ahead to the Indiana game …
“We have to work on our attitude first and be a little bit more prepared and realize that we have a bull’s eye on us (in the St. John Division). Indiana traps more than Wake Forest does. They will trap all over the court. There is no way with the schedule we were playing that we expected to stay in the top 10 all the way through December. This is similar to our loss at Rice last year when we were ranked No. 10 in the country. We always find a way (to bounce back) and we will.”