- Mechelle Voepel, espnW.com
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LINCOLN, Neb. -- It's fair to say Texas A&M -- which won the national championship just three years ago -- has been a bit under the radar this season and in this NCAA tournament.
But the Aggies are about to take on the most high-profile team in women's basketball -- and try to make it back to the program's second Final Four. What's standing in the way? Only the top seed and defending national champion Connecticut Huskies.
The No. 3 seed Aggies defeated No. 7 seed DePaul 84-65 in the second semifinal Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Blue Demons pulled one of the more significant upsets of the second round when they beat No. 2 seed Duke on the Blue Devils' home court.
But against the Aggies, who finished tied with Tennessee for second in the SEC this season, the Blue Demons' defense really just couldn't hold up. Admittedly, DePaul probably felt hampered by the way the officials called the game, as Texas A&M was 18-of-27 from the line. But the bottom line was, the Aggies dominated.
KEY STAT: Talk about burning up the nets: Texas A&M shot exactly 60 percent in both the first half and the second half. Five Aggies scored in double figures, led by Courtney Walker's 25 points.
TURNING POINT: Midway through the first half, the Aggies got two offensive rebounds from Tavarsha Scott-Williams, and on the third try of the possession, Walker hit a jumper. It was indicative of how dominant the Aggies' offense was; they didn't miss many shots, and when they did, they were able to get second and sometimes third chances.
KEY PLAYER: Walker really couldn't do much wrong in this game. She was 9-of-12 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. She added three rebounds and a couple of assists, and DePaul couldn't find any way to slow her down.
HOW IT WAS WON: The Aggies were really plugged in from the start both offensively and defensively. They held the Blue Demons to 27.6 percent shooting in the first half, really clogging up what had been a very efficient DePaul offense against Duke. The Aggies are not much of a 3-point shooting team; they attempted only two from behind the arc and didn't make either. But the key to Texas A&M's success is the Aggies don't try to do what they don't do well.
WHAT'S NEXT: Texas A&M will meet Connecticut for the regional championship Monday (ESPN, 9:30 p.m. ET). And while, as mentioned, the Aggies are not very effective from behind the arc, they might need to find a little more offense from out there to try to compete with the Huskies.