Courtney Williams scored 23 points and Karla Gilbert added 20 points and 15 rebounds to help Texas A&M to an 85-69 victory over James Madison on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The victory sends the third-seeded Aggies to the round of 16 for the sixth time and for the first time since 2012. They missed reaching the third round last season after losing to Nebraska at home in the second round.
“Last year was just such a letdown for [us], getting knocked out at our own place in the second round,” senior Gilbert said Monday. “So that’s definitely going to be in the back of our minds that we cannot allow that to happen again.”
The Aggies used an 8-2 run to build a 10-point lead early in the second half and answered each time James Madison cut the advantage. The Dukes got within seven points with about seven minutes remaining, but A&M used an 8-0 run to make it 81-66.
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Kirby Burkholder led 11th-seeded James Madison with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
DeSoto graduate Jordan Jones had 16 assists and added nine points for the Aggies.
Both teams won their tournament openers without too much difficulty. Texas A&M started off slow before using a big run to pull away from No. 14 seed North Dakota for a 70-55 win in the first round. James Madison beat No. 6 seed Gonzaga 72-63 to set up its first-ever meeting against the Aggies.
Gilbert had two more blocked shots for A&M. The 6-foot-5 center had five blocks in the Aggies’ victory over North Dakota to give her 64 this season and make her the first player in school history with at least 60 blocks in a season.