No. 8 Texas A&M beats Rutgers 79-50 in New York

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NEW YORK (AP)—Texas A&M coach Gary Blair believes Danielle Adams has been flying under the college basketball radar because of where she plays.

The 6-foot-1 senior got a chance to showcase her skills on one the game’s biggest stages Sunday, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead No. 8 Texas A&M to a 79-50 victory over Rutgers in the Maggie Dixon Classic.

“It’s an honor for me to get to play in Madison Square Garden, and to be in New York for my first time,” Adams said.

Adams came in averaging almost 22 points and over eight rebounds a game, had 18 points and eight rebounds at the half.

“Danielle Adams is definitely one of the top 10 players in this country,” Blair said. “I just hope people recognize it. She’s been under the radar since she played in junior college.”

Texas A&M led 38-20 at halftime and was never really challenged.

Sydney Carter added 18 points and Tyra White had 15 of her 17 in the second half for the Aggies (9-1).

Erica Wheeler scored 13 points for Rutgers (7-5) and April Sykes had 10.

Texas A&M, which came in outscoring its opponents by an average of over 25 points, held Rutgers to 27 percent shooting and just five first-half field goals.

Rutgers took a 5-4 lead 5 minutes into the game thanks to two jumpers from Nikki Speed. The rest of the team was 0 for 11 from the floor at that point, and it was the Scarlet Knight’s only lead.

Speed went to the bench with two early fouls and Texas A&M went on an 11-2 run, capped by a layup and free throw from Adams.

“There is no question in my mind that (Texas A&M) is a Final Four team,” said Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer. “We let them think that, ‘Yeah, OK, yeah you are how good you think you are.”’

Rutgers was just 5 of 33 from the floor in the half and 13 of 49 for the game. They had 27 turnovers.

“I think we gave them pretty good trouble,” Carter said. “That’s what we try to be is aggressive on defense.”

The Scarlet Knights’ Khadijah Rushdan hobbled off the court in the second half with what appeared to be a left knee injury. She came back later in the half with the knee wrapped and limping noticeably.

Stringer said Rushdan will have some tests done.

“I’m going to pray that it’s not (bad),” Stringer said. “Because she’s had surgery twice on that knee. She missed her freshman year.”

This was Rutgers’ third game against a ranked opponent this season. The Scarlet Knights lost to No. 3 Stanford 63-50 and beat No. 20 Georgetown 70-53.

The tournament is in its fifth year of honoring Maggie Dixon, the former Army coach who died of a congenital heart ailment in 2006 at the age of 28. Her death came just weeks after leading Army to its first NCAA tournament.

Her brother, Pittsburgh men’s coach Jamie Dixon, is amazed by the growth of the event.

“Our goal was to make this the premier women’s basketball event, and to bring awareness to the issue of heart health, and by filling up Madison Square Garden, I think we’ve done that,” he said.

A portion of the proceeds from the classic will go to benefit C.A.R.E.—an organization that works to fund research and raise awareness of sudden cardiac death.

Updated Sunday, Dec 19, 2010

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Texas A&M
Danielle Adams Danielle Adams
9-20,  24 Pts
12 Rebs, 2 Assists
Erica Wheeler Erica Wheeler
4-11,  13 Pts
3 Rebs, 1 Assists

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Sunday, Dec 19