Texas A&M wins virtual road game for title

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Texas A&M was unfazed by Notre Dame’s homecourt advantage in Tuesday night’s national championship game.

Notre Dame was playing three hours from campus, but the Aggies handled the pressure well in a 76-70 win.

Much of the crowd wore green in support for Notre Dame. But the Aggies said their rugged Big 12 schedule prepared them for the atmosphere.

“We’ve definitely been in some heated arenas,” Texas A&M guard Sydney Colson said. “I think this team, we’ve adjusted to adversity all year, and I think this team has such a mental toughness and a physical toughness to get through a game like that.”

Though outnumbered, the Texas A&M fans made their presence felt. As the postgame celebration began, the greatly outnumbered Aggie fans cheered loudly, with many of the maroon-clad faithful holding up flags with the school’s logo.

The fans put their arms on each other’s shoulders and swayed back and forth in unison as the band played the school’s fight song, “The Aggie War Hymn.”

“Our fans were faithful, and I’m glad we had as many fans as we did,” Colson said.

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ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Texas A&M’s Danielle Adams was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player.

The senior forward had 30 points and nine rebounds in the championship game.

Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins also made the team. She scored 23 points in the final after scoring 28 points against Connecticut.

The other members of the team were Connecticut forward Maya Moore, who scored 36 points in the semifinal loss to Notre Dame; Notre Dame’s Devereaux Peters; and Texas A&M’s Tyra White.

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NO SURPPRISE: Guard Sydney Colson and her Texas A&M teammates weren’t surprised that Notre Dame beat No. 1 Connecticut to reach the final.

They knew what it was like to get tired of losing to the same team over and over again. The Aggies lost to Baylor three times before getting past the Bears in the regional final and they watched with interest as the Fighting Irish advanced to the title game by beating their Big East rival.

“We were talking about how they have played them three times before,” Colson said. “And this is their fourth time playing them, and they could possibly get an upset just like us against Baylor. And we were confident that they were going to go out there and do it, just because, you know, so much is on the line. And at some point you’ve got to go out there and get a win before it becomes embarrassing for your team.”

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WOMEN’S HOOPS MARKETABILITY: Texas A&M coach Gary Blair says women’s basketball could be marketable _ if anyone would market it.

He said the teams at the top draw well, but the middle and bottom teams need to be more creative in finding ways to pull people in.

“We need to spend money to make money, and a lot of programs do not do that,” Blair said. “They will not put enough money into women’s basketball. Women’s basketball grows in so many ways besides the dollar bill.”

He’s noticed a few signs of women’s basketball gaining prominence at his school.

“You know, it’s sort of funny, spring football is going on at the same time,” he said. “Our baseball team is very, very good. They just changed the start of the baseball game on Tuesday night to 5 because we were going to be on TV at 7. Could you picture that happening?”

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NEXT UP: Danielle Adams, Texas A&M’s talented center, played her last college game Tuesday night but the Aggies have someone with similar abilities coming right behind her.

Kelsey Bone, a 6-4 sophomore, sat out this season after transferring from South Carolina and will be eligible to play for the Aggies in 2011-12.

“She has a great inside-outside game just like me,” Adams said. “To have two post players who can do that is amazing. She’s been a great force in practice for us.”

Bone starred at Houston’s Dulles High School in 2009. She averaged 14 points and led the Southeastern Conference with 9.2 rebounds a game as a freshman at South Carolina, then announced shortly after the season she was leaving. Two weeks later, Bone said she would enroll at A&M.

“When we found out that she wanted to transfer, we just went in real hard on her,” Adams said. “I talked to her almost every day and tried to convince her to get here. Some of the other players did the same

“We knew she wanted to come back home. It was a great thing for us to get her here.”

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SKYLAR’S FOLLOWERS: Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins is getting more popular by the hour.

Diggins had about 5,000 Twitter followers before the NCAA tournament, but that total had increased to nearly 63,000 a few hours after the game. She gained nearly 16,000 followers in the six hours starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Diggins was a trending topic on the social media site Sunday as she led the Fighting Irish over Connecticut. It helped that music artists Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown tweeted about her.

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DISNEY WORLD?: Texas A&M coach Gary Blair was waiting and waiting to deliver his Disney World line.

After a while, he got tired of waiting. He thinks he should get a deal to go along with Jim Calhoun, whose team beat Butler for the men’s title on Monday.

“I want to go to Disney World with my family, and nobody on TV asked me,” he quipped. “I want to go there, preferably for free.”

Blair is 65. The 68-year-old Calhoun is the oldest coach to win a men’s title.

“Me and Calhoun can take our grandkids, and it would be a great promotion,” Blair said. “Calhoun doesn’t know who I am, but I know him.”

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AP freelancer Chuck Schoffner contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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