COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Freshman Chennedy Carter hit a 3 with 3.2 seconds left, capping a 37-point performance, to help Texas A&M rally from a 17-point second-half deficit and beat DePaul 80-79 in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
Carter had 32 of her points after halftime and the fourth-seeded Aggies pulled off another stunning second half comeback for the second consecutive year. It was the largest comeback ever in the second round of the tournament and the fourth largest ever.
Texas A&M trailed by two when Carter's long three from the top of the key gave the Aggies (26-9) the lead. Fifth-seed DePaul had a chance to win it after that but Jasmine Lumpkin stole the inbounds pass from Kelly Campbell to secure the victory and send the Aggies to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.
Carter, who scored A&M's last nine points, struggled early making just two of her first nine shots and scoring just five points in the first half. She got hot after halftime, making seven 3-pointers, to allow the Aggies to mount the comeback. Last season, Texas A&M rallied in the opening round from a 21-point deficit to Penn to win.
DePaul was led by Tanita Allen, who had 19 points and Mart'e Grays added 14.
The Blue Demons led by 15 after scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter. Carter then made two 3-pointers to power a 10-1 run that cut the lead to 69-63 with 6:21 left and spurred coach Doug Bruno into calling a timeout.
Chante Stonewall made a layup soon after that timeout, but Carter hit a 3-pointer a few seconds to make it 71-66.
A 3-point play by Anriel Howard was the start of a 5-1 spurt by Texas A&M that cut the lead to 74-71 with 2 1/2 minutes left. She finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds.
DePaul led by 6 after Ashton Millender's 3-pointer with about two minutes left. But Carter scored the next five points to make it 77-76.
Grays' layup gave DePaul a 79-76 advantage with 56 seconds left. Carter hit one of two free throws a few seconds later. Texas A&M forced a DePaul miss before Carter's game-winning shot.
The Blue Demons led by 15 at halftime and were ahead by 17 after a layup by Grays with about eight minutes left in the third. Texas A&M finally got going after that, scoring the next 10 points to cut the lead to 47-40 with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the quarter and revving up the formerly quiet home crowd. Carter shined in that span, making a 3-pointer before adding a 3-point play on the next possession, to power the run.
Texas A&M will get a chance to show off its star freshman for at least one more game, but she and the Aggies will need to get off to a better start if they hope to keep their season going.
· Earns the seventh trip in program history to the Sweet 16, and the first since 2014. Six of the seven Sweet 16 trips have come under current head coach Gary Blair
· The Aggies’ 17-point comeback is the fourth-largest in NCAA Tournament history. In last year’s First Round, the Aggies set the Tournament record with a 21-point comeback against Penn.
· It is the largest comeback for a Second Round game in NCAA Tournament history
· With today’s win, every Texas A&M recruiting class since 2004-05 has made at least one trip to the Sweet 16
· Texas A&M improves to 26-9 on the season, having clinched the most wins in a season since 2013-14. DePaul concludes its season at 27-8.
· Texas A&M is now 25-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and 7-5 in the Second Round
· Head coach Gary Blair is 357-150 in 15 seasons at Texas A&M, and 765-313 in his Hall of Fame career, which ranks eighth among active coaches in career wins.
· Set a Texas A&M NCAA Tournament record with 37 points. It is the most in an NCAA Tournament game this season and ties for the sixth-most in a Second Round game
· Her 37 points are the fourth-most in a single game in A&M history, and the second-most for an A&M freshman
· Scored 30+ points for the sixth time this season
· Scored 20+ points for the fourth straight game, and 23rd time in 35 games this season
· Scored in double figures for the 34th time in 35 games this season
· Her 19 rebounds are the second-most for an Aggie in an NCAA Tournament game. She has each of the top three marks in Texas A&M history (27 vs. Missouri State – 2016 1st; 16 vs. Penn – 2017 1st)
· Had her second consecutive double-double and her 19th of the season. She extends her Texas A&M record with the 31st of her career
· Scored 10+ points for the 21st time this season and the 41st time in her career
· Had 10+ rebounds for the 30th time this season and the 58th time in her career
· Had 10+ rebounds for the third time this season
· Had a game-icing steal in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Her steal with 17 seconds left against Penn in last year’s First Round forced the Quakers to start fouling