COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Texas A&M coach Gary Blair didn’t spend any time celebrating his 200th win with the Aggies on Wednesday night.
Instead, he was worried about getting his defending national champions to enough wins this season to make sure they get a spot in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, which the school is hosting.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Blair said of the milestone. “Twenty wins this year will mean something to me because I know that I won’t be selling popcorn up top in the first and second rounds. We don’t want to (not make it.)”
Sydney Carter and Adaora Elonu each scored 16 points and No. 14 Texas A&M beat Missouri 78-52 to give Blair the milestone victory.
It is Texas A&M’s eighth straight win over Missouri (10-6, 0-5 Big 12) and leaves the Tigers winless in Big 12 play.
Carter, a senior, applauded Blair’s accomplishment.
“It’s big,” she said. “I’ve been with him four years now and it’s nice to see him reach those milestones that he wants to get to and continue to be successful with what he’s doing. We’re just happy for him and proud to be a part of him and the history he’s making here at A&M.”
The Aggies were up by nine points early in the second half before going on an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 58-41 with about 10 minutes remaining. Missouri’s Morgan Eye hit a 3-pointer before Texas A&M (12-4, 3-2) used a 14-2 spurt, keyed by 3s from Tyra White and Adrienne Pratcher, to push its advantage to 72-46 with about three minutes left.
Missouri was led by Christine Flores, who had 13 points.
White added 15 points for the Aggies and had six rebounds and five assists. Kelsey Bone helped out with nine rebounds, six points and three steals.
Carter said Elonu emerging as another scorer to add to what she and White contribute is important for the team.
“It really helps us out, we need another threat,” she said. “I think with us having balanced scoring and each of us being a threat in each game, it makes us hard to stop. We complement each other because we have such great chemistry.”
BreAnna Brock, who was coming off a career-high 26-point performance in Missouri’s loss to Kansas, added 12 points and had nine rebounds.
The Aggies took advantage of 25 turnovers by Missouri which they converted into 39 points. Freshman Kyley Simmons committed 10 of Missouri’s turnovers.
“They’re known for their tenacious defense,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “We have a young, inexperienced point guard, and they scored 39 points off of turnovers. You just can’t afford to give up that many points off of turnovers.”
Blair, who took over at A&M in 2003, has won 608 games in his career as a Division I head coach, including 198 at Arkansas and 210 at Stephen F. Austin.
The Tigers got off to a quick start and led 14-7 just more than five minutes into the game. The Aggies answered with a 12-0 run, powered by five points from Carter, to take a 19-14 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
Missouri cut the lead to two points several times in the last 10 minutes of the first half, but never regained the lead and A&M was up 40-33 at halftime.
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