INDIANAPOLIS — Scoring, rebounding, even making a key steal, Danielle Adams saved her best game for the biggest stage and brought Texas A&M its first national championship.
Adams scored 22 of her 30 points in a dominating second half and answered the Fighting Irish basket for basket Tuesday night to help Texas A&M bring a title to the former all-male military academy with a thrilling 76-70 victory in front of a pro-Notre Dame crowd.
“I knew they couldn’t stop me inside so that’s what I did, I took it inside,” Adams said.
No one was happier than Gary Blair, the outspoken A&M coach who hadn’t been in the Final Four since 1998 when he was with Arkansas. Blair bluntly said it was a good thing that top powers like Connecticut, Tennessee and Stanford weren’t in the title game.
“We don’t give up,” Blair said. “We might not play the prettiest game in the world but it’s good for women’s basketball to see a Texas A&M and a Notre Dame in this game.”
And then his Aggies went out and proved him right.
Tyra White added 18 points for A&M, including a huge 3-pointer as the shot clock buzzer sounded to put A&M up 73-68 with 1:07 left.
The Aggies are a national championship newcomer and bullied their way through the tournament to get to the top. Like Notre Dame, the Aggies vanquished their conference rival on the way, beating Baylor in the Dallas regional final after losing to the Lady Bears three times during the season.
Adams, who had a history of vanishing in big games, did no such thing on Tuesday night, scoring the second most points ever in a championship game (Sheryl Swoopes 47, 1993).