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Adams scores 24 in A&M debut as Duke's second-half rally falls short

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Danielle Adams needed only one game to endear herself to Texas A&M fans.

Adams scored 24 points in 22 minutes in her Texas A&M debut and the Aggies (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today) stunned No. 6 Duke 95-77 on Sunday.

The Aggies (1-0) took the lead near the midway point of the first half and didn't trail again. Despite poor shooting, the Blue Devils (1-1) cut the lead to three points with about 14 minutes remaining, but the Aggies scored 10 straight points to make it 65-52 and Duke didn't threaten again.

Adams scored seven points in that span, including a nifty off-balance layup which she turned into a three-point play.

"The team was down so I had to come out and contribute and push the lead up more," Adams said.

Sydney Colson made a free throw to cap that run and then sprinted to the star at midcourt for an airborne chest bump with Tanisha Smith as a timeout was called.

"The first five minutes of the second half were ugly," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "They could have got right back in the ball game, but every time we would screw up, they would screw up going the other way. When we were playing our worst five minutes of the game they didn't take advantage of it."

The win improved Texas A&M's all-time record against the Blue Devils to 3-0. This was the first meeting between the schools since a 77-63 win by the Aggies in the round of 16 in the 2008 NCAA tournament.

Texas A&M got 19 points from Smith, 17 from Colson and Sydney Carter added 14. Damitria Buchanan had seven rebounds and tied an A&M record with seven blocks.

"I think the bottom line is they just played a team game," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "You can highlight [Adams], but you are looking at five people in double figures for them, so our team defense did not perform."

Jasmine Thomas had a career-high 26 points for the Blue Devils and Allison Vernerey scored 11.

Adams, the preseason Big 12 newcomer of the year and last year's junior college player of the year at Jefferson College, had five rebounds and a block and made three 3-pointers.

"The atmosphere was great, I'd never seen nothing like it playing at a junior college," she said.

The nonconference record crowd of 6,866 gave her more than one standing ovation.

"That's what I came to do was make my mark and make my name here," she said.

Her teammates said they expected this kind of play from Adams.

"We see this every day in practice," Carter said. "It was just a matter of her showing off what she could do and surprising the crowd and surprising the other team. It really wasn't any big thing to us."

This game was a much tougher test for the Blue Devils after they beat tiny Houston Baptist 104-35 in their opener Friday night. Against the Aggies they were foiled by poor shooting as they made 26 of 78 shots while Texas A&M was 33 of 58. Texas A&M had nine 3-pointers while Duke made four of 20.

The Aggies were up by 13 points when Duke finally got going and went on a 11-1 run to get within 55-52 on a jumper by Thomas with about 14 minutes left. But Adams and the Aggies thwarted the rally to cruise to the win.

"We worked hard defensively to get that little run going and just poor decisions once we got it within three," Thomas said. "On my part with me being a leader out there, I should have made better decisions."

Texas A&M was up by 15 points before scoring six straight points thanks to a missed layup and two turnovers by Duke to make it 82-61 with about 6 minutes remaining.

Texas A&M took a 13-12 lead with about 12 minutes in the first half when Carter hit both free throws after Karima Christmas was called for an intentional foul after pushing her down from behind on a fast break.

That was the start of an 8-0 run that pushed Texas A&M's lead to 19-12 about 10 minutes before halftime.

Duke cut the lead to four points before the Aggies went on another 8-0 run fueled by two 3-pointers by Carter to make it 31-19 with 5½ minutes left in the first half.

The Blue Devils got within five a couple of minutes later but Texas A&M outscored them 10-5 to lead 45-35 at halftime.