COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS >> Adut Bulgak scored 18, Leticia Romero added 17 and Florida State built a big lead early and held on for a 74-56 win over Texas A&M on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The victory puts the Seminoles in the round of 16 for the second straight season and fourth time overall where they'll meet Baylor on Saturday in the Dallas Regional.
Florida State (25-7) led by just three points at halftime before pulling away for a 72-55 win over Middle Tennessee State in the first round on Saturday. Things were much different on Monday when the Seminoles raced out to a 21-point lead by halftime thanks to six early 3-pointers and withstood a late run to eliminate the Aggies (22-10) on their home court.
The Aggies trailed by 21 entering the fourth before using a 13-2 run over the first eight minutes of the quarter to get within 66-56. But Florida state scored the next four point to thwart the rally and keep the Aggies from replicating the epic comeback their men's team had over Northern Iowa on Sunday night when they trailed by 12 points with 44 seconds remaining before winning in double overtime.
Courtney Walker had 18 points to lead A&M and Anriel Howard, who set an NCAA Tournament record with 27 rebounds in the first-round game, had eight points with 13 rebounds. The Aggies were without starter Courtney Williams and Shlonte Allen for the second straight game after the pair were suspended for a violation of team rules on Saturday.
The Seminoles jumped out to a 14-6 lead, powered by five early points by Romero. They were up by nine early in the second quarter before scoring the next seven points, with the first five from Bulgak, to make it 34-18 about seven minutes before halftime.
Walker made a layup after that and Texas A&M had several defensive stops, but the Aggies missed their next five shots, including three layups to remain in a big hole.
They finally got going soon after that, scoring four points in a row to get within 36-24.
But Bulgak, who had 13 rebounds, stopped A&M's run by scoring the first five points of an 11-2 spurt that extended the lead to 47-26 at halftime. Ivey Slaughter had a 3-point play with 12 seconds left in the second half and Brittany Brown capped the first-half scoring with a 3-pointer with one second remaining.
Texas A&M opened the second half with a 7-2 run, with five points from Chelsea Jennings, to cut the lead to 49-33. But Florida State used a 6-2 spurt after that to push it back to 20 points.
The Aggies got within 17 with another run later in the third quarter, but the Seminoles answered again, scoring the last four points of the third quarter to make it 64-43 entering the fourth.
Florida State: All of the school's Sweet 16 appearances have been under coach Sue Semrau. ... Brown added 16 points. ... Florida State made all of its six 3-pointers in the first half.
Texas A&M: Walker became the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,989 career points. ... Texas A&M falls to 6-4 in the second round of the tournament. ... Jennings finished with 15 points. ... Jordan Jones had nine assists.
Florida State: Faces Baylor on Saturday in the Dallas Regional.
Texas A&M: Season over.