Freshman Chennedy Carter hit a 3 with 3.2 seconds left, capping a 37-point performance, to help Texas A&M rally from a 17-point second-half deficit and beat DePaul 80-79 in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
Carter had 32 of her points after halftime and the fourth-seeded Aggies pulled off another stunning second half comeback for the second consecutive year. It was the largest comeback ever in the second round of the tournament and the fourth largest ever.
Texas A&M trailed by two when Carter's long three from the top of the key gave the Aggies (26-9) the lead. Fifth-seed DePaul had a chance to win it after that but Jasmine Lumpkin stole the inbounds pass from Kelly Campbell to secure the victory and send the Aggies to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.
Carter, who scored A&M's last nine points, struggled early making just two of her first nine shots and scoring just five points in the first half. She got hot after halftime, making seven 3-pointers, to allow the Aggies to mount the comeback. Last season, Texas A&M rallied in the opening round from a 21-point deficit to Penn to win.
DePaul was led by Tanita Allen, who had 19 points and Mart'e Grays added 14.
The Blue Demons led by 15 after scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter. Carter then made two 3-pointers to power a 10-1 run that cut the lead to 69-63 with 6:21 left and spurred coach Doug Bruno into calling a timeout.
Chante Stonewall made a layup soon after that timeout, but Carter hit a 3-pointer a few seconds to make it 71-66.
A 3-point play by Anriel Howard was the start of a 5-1 spurt by Texas A&M that cut the lead to 74-71 with 2 1/2 minutes left. She finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds.
DePaul led by 6 after Ashton Millender's 3-pointer with about two minutes left. But Carter scored the next five points to make it 77-76.
Grays' layup gave DePaul a 79-76 advantage with 56 seconds left. Carter hit one of two free throws a few seconds later. Texas A&M forced a DePaul miss before Carter's game-winning shot.
The Blue Demons led by 15 at halftime and were ahead by 17 after a layup by Grays with about eight minutes left in the third. Texas A&M finally got going after that, scoring the next 10 points to cut the lead to 47-40 with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the quarter and revving up the formerly quiet home crowd. Carter shined in that span, making a 3-pointer before adding a 3-point play on the next possession, to power the run.
Texas A&M will get a chance to show off its star freshman for at least one more game, but she and the Aggies will need to get off to a better start if they hope to keep their season going.
Texas A&M will play the winner of Sunday night's Notre Dame-Villanova game on Saturday in the Sweet 16.
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