No. 10 Texas A&M holds off S. Illinois 72-58 -

No. 10 Texas A&M holds off S. Illinois 72-58

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Tanisha Smith scored 20 points, Adaora Elonu added 14 points and five rebounds, and No. 10 Texas A&M used a late run in the second half to beat Southern Illinois 72-58 in the Colliers International Classic on Saturday.

Danielle Adams added 14 points and six rebounds for the Aggies (5-0), who struggled offensively throughout the game against the rebuilding Salukis.

Teri Oliver scored 18 points and Christine Presswood had 16 points and four assists for Southern Illinois, which dropped to 0-5 under first-year coach Missy Tiber.

Texas A&M plays No. 20 California on Sunday in the championship game while Southern Illinois plays Colorado State in the consolation game.

The Aggies, the fifth-highest scoring team in the country, were coming off a 106-56 win over Stephen F. Austin on Thursday, but were out of sync offensively much of the afternoon in Gary Blair's 200th career game coaching at Texas A&M.

The Aggies led by 12 at halftime, but Southern Illinois pulled within 46-39 after Oliver's fourth 3-pointer six minutes into the second half.

Smith then hit a 16-foot jumper, Adams made a pair of short one-handed shots and Smith added a 3-pointer to give the Aggies a 55-39 lead.

Smith, who scored a career-high 30 in the win over Stephen F. Austin, was 8 of 16 from the field against Southern Illinois.

The Salukis committed 27 turnovers and scored just two baskets over the final 11 minutes of the game. Those are the growing pains Tiber expected in her first season coaching Southern Illinois after a stellar four-year run at Division II Tusculum College.

Tiber, who guided Tusculum to a pair of appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament, has just three seniors on her roster while trying to rebuild a program that went 9-19 in 2008.

The Aggies, meanwhile, have 10 returners including two starters from last year's squad that finished 27-8.

The difference showed but not until late in the second half when Texas A&M put together its best run of the game while the Salukis' offense stalled out.

It was the first meeting between the two schools since Nov. 24, 1978.

Texas A&M led 37-25 at halftime but needed a late run to pull away from the winless but pesky Salukis.

Southern Illinois closed within 22-21 on Oliver's second straight 3-pointer with 5:43 remaining before Texas A&M closed out the half with a 15-4 burst.

Smith got the Aggies going with back-to-back midrange jumpers before Elonu scored all six of her first-half points during the run, while the Salukis went 0-for-5 from the field and made two turnovers before Presswood's layup at the buzzer.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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