Sydney Carter's free throws with 2.4 seconds left lift Texas A&M to win
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M's Sydney Carter wasn't having a good game on Sunday.
Still, she was confident she'd sink her free throws with 2.4 seconds left and the game on the line.
"Free throws are like layups for me," Carter, an 85-percent free throw shooter said. "I know if I can't make any other shot, I can make a free throw. I knew I could hit them."
And she did, hitting two to lift Texas A&M (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) to a 66-64 win over Iowa State. Carter, who entered the game averaging 12.1 points a game, went 0 for 4 on Sunday and her only points came on the late free throws.
"Thank heavens for Carter," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "Carter is the only kid we could have gotten down there that fast. She did a good job of making it happen."
Iowa State's desperation heave down the court as time expired was grabbed by A&M's Kelsey Bone.
The Cyclones' possession before Carter's free throws ended when Nikki Moody, apparently thinking the game clock was the shot clock, didn't try to get a shot off as the shot clock expired with 7.3 seconds remaining.
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said he hadn't talked with Moody, a freshman, about the play and wasn't sure what happened.
"We do late-game situation every single day in practice," Fennelly said. "Maybe she did lose track of it. We wanted to run down the clock as much as we could."
Carter, who was guarding Moody on the play, also didn't realize the shot clock was winding down. She was simply focused on keeping her from getting a good shot. She said Adaora Elonu helped out on the play.
"That was all-around team defense right there," Carter said.
The defending national champion Aggies were coming off a loss to Oklahoma State on Tuesday and Blair felt fortunate to escape with a win in this one.
"We needed this game bad," Blair said.
Elonu had 19 points and Tyra White added 14 for Texas A&M (14-5, 5-3 Big 12).
The Cyclones (11-8, 2-6) were led by Chelsea Poppens, who had 22 points and nine rebounds.
"We couldn't make a shot, we couldn't get a break and they made the plays they needed to make," Fennelly said.
Iowa State led by two points before a three minute scoring drought by both teams. White finally got the scoring going again with a basket with about 4½ minutes remaining that tied it at 59-59.
Poppens put Iowa State back on top with a layup before A&M took a 62-61 lead after three free throws. Moody gave Iowa State its last lead with a layup with about three minutes left, before A&M regained the lead with a jump shot by Elonu seconds later.
Poppens made one of two free throws with about two minutes left to tie it at 64-64.
Hallie Christofferson had 13 points and Moody added 12 points and had six rebounds, but she had eight turnovers for Iowa State.
An 8-4 spurt at the beginning of the second half extended Iowa State's lead to 47-39. The Aggies responded by scoring eight straight points, including four by Bone who finished with 10, to tie it at 47 with about 12 minutes remaining.
Texas A&M was up by seven points before Iowa State used a 13-6 run capped by a 3-pointer by Lauren Mansfield to tie it at 23-all six minutes before halftime.
A 3-pointer by A&M's Alexia Standish a couple of minutes later tied it at 28. Iowa State outscored A&M 11-7 fueled by two 3-pointers to take a 39-35 lead into halftime.
The Cyclones made seven of their nine 3-point attempts in the first half, but just two of 11 the rest of the way.
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