Texas A&M women's basketball team headed to Chicago

Texas A&M sophomore guard Kayla Wells shoots during the Aggies’ seccnd-round matchup against Marquette in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Reed Arena.

Texas A&M’s Shambria Washington hit a 3-pointer with 23 seconds to give the Aggies a 78-76 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles in second-round action of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Sunday at Reed Arena.

The 14th-ranked Aggies (26-7) advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. A&M will play in Chicago on Saturday against Michigan State or top-seeded and defending national champ Notre Dame, which defeated the Aggies last year in the Sweet 16.

Marquette (27-8) took a 76-75 lead as Amani Wilborn hit a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left.

A&M answered with Chennedy Carter driving into the middle of the lane, passing left to a wide-open Washington.

“Chennedy just made a great read,” Washington said. “They were triple teaming her all night, coming off those ball screens. And she hit me, I was open, and so I knocked it down for them.”

Marquette botched its chance to answer, having trouble inbounding the ball with Carter stealing the bad pass with 5 seconds left.

“That's Chennedy having a nose for the ball,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “She's such a great help defensive player.”

Carter, who added a free throw with a second left, had a game-high 30 points as all A&M starters were in double figures.

A&M’s inside power of 6-foot-4 Cierra Johnson and 6-1 power forward N’dea Jones were too much for the smaller Golden Eagles as they combined for 24 points and 25 rebounds. They helped A&M have an 18-2 edge in second-chance points.

Jones had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Johnson had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Junior point guard Washington added 13 points and sophomore forward Kayla Wells 11.

Senior Natisha Hiedeman led Marquette with 18 points. Allazia Blockton and Danielle King each added 15. Lauren Van Kleunen added 14.

Marquette failed to reach the Sweet 16 for the sixth time, but this one hurt more because it started four senior guards.

“This senior class has meant so much to us and our program, myself, my staff,” Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger said. “I hate that it had to end this way for them. I really, really do. We wanted it really, really bad.”

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