Danielle Adams will indeed make her mark on the WNBA, but before she departs the ranks of college basketball, she put her teammates on her back and carried them to victory over the Lady Irish of Notre Dame 76-70, and brought home the first National Championship in the history of the Texas A&M program.
“I had a voice in my head that was saying do not let this team down,” said the tournament’s most valuable player. “I was determined to not fall short.” Indeed she was. Adams finished a superlative run to the title with a monster performance, scoring 30 points and grabbing nine rebounds, as the Lady Aggies held off a spirited Notre Dame team that would simply not go away.
The Irish played a superb first half and led at the break by two, but Texas A&M showed the resolve of a champion in the second half as they methodically broke the Irish down as the game headed toward the final stretch. When Tyra White connected from downtown for three of her 18 points with just over a minute to play, Texas A&M was in the driver’s seat, and had finally put their formable opponent from South Bend away.
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw summed up the three pointer by White as “a knife in the heart” and gave credit to Texas A&M on a night when it looked like the Irish might just win the title after defeating the overall No. 1 seed Connecticut just 48 hours earlier. “It was just an amazing effort by White on that shot,” added McGraw, who led the Lady Irish to the national title in 2001.
Notes: Notre Dame was led by guard Skylar Diggins who had 23 points.
Devereaux Peters added 21 points and grabbed a game high 11 rebounds.
Sydney Colson was also in double figures for A&M with 10 points.
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, who joyfully celebrated with his grandson on the floor after the game, became the oldest coach to win a women’s title at age 65.
The Irish fans were loud and proud, as they encompassed a great deal of the 17,000 plus in attendance. While outnumbered, A&M’s contingent was certainly audible as well, and the overall spirit displayed by the respective schools was something special to witness, as they rocked Conseco Fieldhouse all night long from start to finish.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wore a Notre Dame jacket as he took in the action from the front row. The governor was flanked by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Both of them also attended the semi-finals as well.
Hats off to Conseco and its staff for a marvelous job in hosting this tourney.The Women’s Final Four returns to Indianapolis in 2016, and with all due respect to Lucas Oil Stadium, this venue is right where it belongs.
Danny Bridges, who feels the Women’s Final Four was a much better brand of hoops than the men’s can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.