Photo by Matt Sachs, TexAgs
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

Aggie women complete historic comeback to beat Penn, 63-61

March 18, 2017
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What a comeback, what a comeback, what a comeback.

The fifth-seeded Texas A&M women’s basketball team used the greatest comeback in NCAA Tournament history to defeat the 12th-seeded Penn Quakers, 63-61, in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Saturday night. The Aggies outscored the Quakers, 28-9, in the fourth quarter after trailing, 52-35, after three.

Khaalia Hillsman led the Aggies with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Danni Williams added 15 and eight rebounds. Additionally, Anriel Howard scored seven points and pulled down 16 rebounds, while Curtyce Knox added seven points and eight assists in the win.

A&M took an early 6-4 lead, but shortly after, it was the Quakers that took control of the contest. After the first quarter horn, Penn led by eight points, thanks to a strong performance from long range.

In the second quarter, Penn continued their hot shooting and pushed their lead to 12, 36-24, at the halftime break.

In the second half, the Quakers grew their lead to as many as 21, but the Aggies began to chip away. The lead dwindled to 17 midway through the fourth quarter. Down by 10 with 3:47 to play, Williams hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to eight. Shortly after, Hillsman completed a three-point play to pull A&M within six with 2:01 on the clock.

With 1:28 left, Knox hit a jumper to draw within four before a Williams three-ball and a Hillsman layup led to an A&M lead with 21 seconds left. From there, the Aggies went 3-of-4 from the line to seal the 63-61 win.

The Aggies now look ahead to a second-round contest in Los Angeles with the fourth-seeded UCLA Bruins on Monday. If they were to win there, a likely matchup with top-seeded Connecticut would await in the Sweet Sixteen.

What a win for Gary Blair and his squad.
Discussion from...

Aggie women complete historic comeback to beat Penn, 63-61

Kbeauty63
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What a game! The Ladies NEVER gave up!
mb101
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Grit and huge determination. Never quit. So proud of these ladies and coaching staff. BTHOucla.
CapAg07
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aggietoolman
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AustinAg2012
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Once again, at least we're good in women sports.
biobioprof
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BigJim49 AustinNowDallas
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Waffledynamics
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Rudybryan
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You Gotta Believe!!!!!
ontheway
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No give-up in these Aggies!!
Thymes
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Here's an excellent narrative from the Penn web site:

LOS ANGELES In one of the most stunning turn of events you will ever see, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team was up on Texas A&M by 21 points early in the fourth and final quarter of Saturday's NCAA first-round game at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, but the Aggies roared all the way back to defeat the Quakers, 63-61.

A&M used a 25-1 run over a span of 8:06 to gain the improbable victory and advance to Monday's second round, where the Aggies (22-11) will face regional host UCLA. Penn's season comes to a shocking close at 22-8 overall.

To give a sense of how out of left field Texas A&M final charge came from, consider that Penn scored six-straight points over a 42-second span to take a 58-37 lead just over a minute into the fourth period. Sydney Stipanovich, who had a season-high 20 points, knocked down a jumper just as the whistle blew to call a foul on A&M. The Quakers got the ball back and Stipanovich quickly scored again to put Penn up 58-37.

It was a play that you don't see often in basketball essentially a make-it, take-it for the Quakers. What happened after that had never been seen before, at least not in an NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament game.

Texas A&M started its run innocently enough, the Aggies sandwiching four free throws around a missed three-pointer by the Quakers. At 58-41, the A&M press forced its first turnover, and that led to a quick layup to make it 58-43. Penn broke the press after that but rushed a layup that missed, and then A&M had three opportunities at the basket before another foul led to two more made free throws. Another steal led to another foul shot, and in just 75 seconds the Aggies had made up nine points.

What is perhaps the most incredible element of A&M's comeback is this: the Aggies scored just four points over the next 5:07, on a Khaalia Hillsman layup right at the six-minute mark and a pair of Danni Williams free throws with 3:48 to play. Penn was unable to convert during that entire time, however, until Michelle Nwokedi hit one of two free throws with 2:08 left to make the score 59-50.

Hillsman scored just as the clock went under a minute and was fouled, converting the free throw to make it 59-53. Penn missed another rushed layup, and A&M rushed down the floor and scored a jumper to make it 59-55 with 1:25 left. The Quakers ran the clock under a minute but were forced into a shot-clock violation, and then Williams nailed a long three-pointer that made it a one-point game with 37 seconds still to play.

On Penn's ensuing inbounds, the ball went out of bounds and the Quakers player let it go, thinking it was off an Aggie player. Instead, the refs called the ball to A&M, and after a review the call was upheld. A&M then took its first lead of the game since 6-4 on a layup, then added to that advantage with another steal and a pair of free throws.

Beth Brzozowski got a good look on a potentially tying three-pointer, but it was off the mark and Kasey Chambers was fouled on the ensuing rebound. With just 3.6 seconds left, she made both foul shots to make the score 62-61, and then Penn fouled on the ensuing inbounds. A&M made the first, purposely missed the second, and the Quakers were unable to get a final shot before the buzzer.

It was an unfortunate ending to what was an inspired effort for 31 minutes by the Quakers. Penn used a 14-0 run to turn that early 6-4 deficit into an 18-6 lead, a run that featured a pair of three-pointers by both Chambers and Nwokedi. The score was 21-13 at the end of the first quarter, and even though Nwokedi was forced to sit the entire second quarter due to foul trouble Penn managed to extend its lead to 36-24 as the teams went to the locker rooms.

A&M scored the first four points of the third quarter, but before the Aggies could get any momentum Penn was off on a 12-2 run that pushed the Quakers into a 48-30 lead. It was still 52-35 Penn after three quarters.

Nwokedi finished the night with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots, while Anna Ross grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and dished off seven assists. She had eight points, as did Chambers, while Beth Brzozowski scored six on a pair of treys.

For A&M, Hillsman ended the game with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Anriel Howard had seven points and 16 boards. Williams scored 15 points and grabbed eight boards, while Curtyce Knox had seven points and dished out eight assists.

aggie67,74&76
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Awesome game!!!
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