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Texas A&M gets easy win in women's NCAA tournament

Saturday - 3/23/2013, 9:26pm  ET

Texas A&M's Kristi Bellock, left, tries to maintain control of the ball under pressure from Wichita State's Michelle Price (33) and Chynna Turner (25) during a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament in College Station, Texas, Saturday, March 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Kristi Bellock is comfortable talking about her team. Not so much when the questions shift to her game.

After spending much of her first three seasons at Texas A&M on the bench, the senior is adjusting to the spotlight.

Bellock tied a career high with 18 points and the third-seeded Aggies beat Wichita State 71-45 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.

Afterward, she squirmed uncomfortably when asked about her role in the victory.

"Um," she said. "I just want to go out there and play hard. It's my main thing for the whole season. It's my last year and I just want to know I gave all that I had, and don't hold anything back is my mindset."

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said it's understandable that she shies away from the limelight after averaging less than a point last season.

"She sat on the bench for three years and all of the sudden it's here," Blair said. "It's like Christmas for her. There's a lot of good things happening."

Playing in front of a hometown crowd, the Aggies used a big run at the end of the first half to erase a one-point deficit and take a 13-point lead into halftime. A 12-2 spurt early in the second half extended the lead to 52-29, and Texas A&M cruised from there.

Texas A&M (25-9), which won the national championship in 2011, is in the tournament for the eighth consecutive season. It was the first trip for Wichita State (24-10), which got 12 points from Michelle Price.

The Aggies will play Nebraska in the second round on Monday night.

Bellock also had six rebounds, two assists and two blocks, and freshman teammate Courtney Williams added 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. Adrienne Pratcher helped with seven assists, seven rebounds and six points.

Leading scorer Kelsey Bone had all 10 of her points in the second half after getting into foul trouble before the break. She came in averaging 16.9 points a game.

"I have to understand that teams are going to have game plans against me and I help them by picking up silly fouls," she said. "Hopefully I can learn from that and not put myself in that situation next time."

The Aggies helped themselves by making their first 15 attempts from the line. Pratcher had the first miss with about 3
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