GW Tops Fourth-Seeded Texas A&M, 59-47, To Advance To Sweet 16

March 19, 2007

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With star post player Jessica Adair on the bench for much of the game in foul trouble, George Washington won with smallball.

Kimberly Beck scored 18 points and made a 3-pointer that put the game away with 1:40 to play and fellow guard Sarah-Jo Lawrence added 12 points as fifth-seeded George Washington beat fourth-seeded Texas A&M 59-47 Monday in the second round of the Dallas Regional.

"Beck took over the game in the second half," said Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, who lost to his best friend, GW coach Joe McKeown.

"She's one of the top guards in the country. I wouldn't trade her for anybody," McKeown said. "She's a special player and a great leader."

It is the first time in five straight trips to the tournament that the Colonials (28-3) have made it to the round of 16.

George Washington will face either No. 1 seed North Carolina or ninth-seeded Notre Dame, which play Tuesday night, next weekend.

It will be the Colonials' first trip to the round of 16 since 1997.

"It's been a long 10 years," McKeown said. "We've had a lot of great games in the second round. It just feels good to have a team that wants to keep playing."

Takia Starks had 15 points for the Aggies (25-7), who had won their first tournament game since 1994 with a 58-50 win over Texas Arlington in Saturday's first round.

Starks was the lone bright spot for the Aggies, who shot 32.8 percent.

"We missed wide open, wide open, wide open shots," Blair said.

The 6-foot-4 Adair picked up her fourth foul with 15:02 to play and sat out nearly nine minutes. She had 10 points and five rebounds after getting 15 points and a career-high 21 rebounds in George Washington's first round win over Boise State.

The Colonials relied instead on perimeter jumpers and breakaway layups from the gangly, 5-8 Beck.

She shot 6-for-12 from the field and scored seven points during a 15-5 run to close the first half that gave George Washington a 23-21 halftime lead.

"The shots just came, and they fell," Beck said.

A jumper and a 3-pointer from Starks, cousin of former Knicks sharpshooter John Starks, just after Adair sat down tied it at 29 with 13:47 left.

But the Colonials outscored the Aggies 23-11 over an eight-minute span in the middle of the second half, capped by a layup from a resurgent Adair and another from Kenan Cole to take an 11-point lead 54-43 with 3:25 to go.

The victory had a bit of an edge for McKeown, who had to send his friend of more than 20 years back to College Station, Texas, while he moves on to Dallas.

"This is really hard," McKeown said. "I just hated playing him in the NCAA tournament, knowing one of us was going home. When push came to shove, I'm glad it was me. I'm sure he'd say the same thing."

George Washington is now 16-13 all-time in the tournament, but 11 of those wins had come in first round games.

They reached the round of eight in 1997 by defeating top-seeded North Carolina.

In a sluggish first half that saw as many turnovers as field goals, the Aggies rebounded their way to an early lead, hitting the offensive boards hard and taking advantage of a slow start from Adair on the way to a 16-8 lead.

Adair hardly touched the ball early. She didn't score for nearly six minutes and didn't have a rebound for over six minutes to start the game.

Adair's sister, Jazmine, played in her place for much of the game and went 4-for-6 from the field for eight points.



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