Texas A&M women roll over Albany in NCAA Tournament opener

COLLEGE STATION -- In the first half, Alexia Standish played like a freshman in her first NCAA Tournament game.

The former Colleyville Heritage star was 0 for 2 from the field, with two fouls and a turnover in seven minutes.

Then, in the second half, she made like Danielle Adams.

The Aggies won the national championship last season with Adams leading the way. They have struggled to score at times this season without her.

Standish took care of that problem Saturday in a first-round game at Reed Arena with three 3-pointers in a 6:02 span of the second half to fuel a 25-9 run. The Aggies went on to win 69-47 over a feisty Albany team that provided more of a roadblock than expected.

"I'm proud of my basketball team," Aggies coach Gary Blair said. "We were not at our best, but we were still able to win the game. I thought we had some kids step up and play well in the second half."

Standish was 4 for 5 in the second half, including 4 for 4 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The freshman guard was one of three players in double figures as Tyra White returned after missing the past three games with a foot injury to score 18 points, and Adaora Elonu added 13.

"I missed the first two shots I took, so that might have been excitement or being anxious and just not focusing on my form," Standish said. "I came out in the second half a little more calm and ready to shoot the ball with my feet ready. Once I hit one, I felt it; I got a little confident and my shots went in."

Much of Saturday's game wasn't pretty for the crowd of 6,407.

The Aggies shot only 37.9 percent in the first half. They were outrebounded 48-33 for the game and had 15 turnovers. Still, the Aggies managed to make the final score look better than they played as they beat an Albany team making its first NCAA appearance.

A&M (23-10) will play Blair's former team, Arkansas, next. The sixth-seeded Razorbacks beat Dayton 72-55 on Saturday.

"That's what this time of the year is about: Winning and surviving," A&M center Kelsey Bone said. "That's what we did tonight. We started off a little shaky, but we didn't let our start affect our finish."

Up next: No. 3 Texas A&M vs. No. 6 Arkansas, 8:30 p.m. Monday

Charean Williams