BATON ROUGE, LA -- Danielle Gant earned herself a trip to her hometown and has Texas A&M past the second round for only the second time in school history.
Gant scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting to lead Texas A&M to a dominant 63-39 victory over 10th-seeded Hartford in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday night.
Morenike Atunrase, playing in her home state of Louisiana, added 13 points to help the Aggies (28-7) win their 11th straight game.
Texas A&M, seeded second in the Oklahoma City Regional, will look to advance to the regional finals for the first time ever next weekend. The only other time A&M, which did not have women students until 1963, advanced to the round of 16 was in 1994.
Hartford (28-6), which beat Syracuse in the first round, saw its 10-game winning streak end and still has yet to advance beyond the second round.
Danielle Hood had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the Hawks, who shot 34 percent and turned the ball over 25 times. Erica Beverly had 10 rebounds and nine points for Hartford, which trailed by double digits for most of the game.
Jamie McCabe's 3-pointer early in the second half pulled Hartford as close as 34-21.
Atunrase responded by hitting a jumper, then Gant converted a fast-break layup, and the Aggies were on their way to building a lead of more than 20 points.
While playing stifling defense, the Aggies were methodical on offense, shooting 46 percent and committing a relatively low 11 turnovers. They scored 34 of their points inside while allowing Hartford only 16 points in the paint.
The 5-foot-11 Gant, who can play guard or small forward, was dominant throughout, hitting on jump shots, and drives while muscling inside for putbacks.
She scored 11 of her points on 5-of-6 shooting in a dominant first half while A&M held Hartford to 6-of-22 shooting from the field.
Gant also had a pair of steals in the opening 20 minutes, and the Aggies converted 12 turnovers into 19 points in taking a 34-19 halftime lead.
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