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Atunrase leads Texas A&M to tourney title

Nov 26, 2006 - 2:58 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Morenike Atunrase is back in a groove and so is Texas A&M.

Atunrase scored 22 points to lead the 13th-ranked Aggies to a 77-52 rout of Loyola Marymount in the championship game of the Loyola Marymount Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic.

Texas A&M had to battle back from a six-point halftime deficit to edge West Virginia, 55-52, in the first round of the tournament on Friday night. The Aggies shot a season-low 39 percent in that game, including Atunrase's 6-for-16 effort.

The Aggies (5-0) looked like a different team one night later, as Atunrase hit 8-of-14 shots and helped her team to a 53 percent (32-of-61) shooting performance. She was 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

Takia Starks scored 18 points and Patrice Reado added 10 and 11 rebounds for A&M, which outrebounded Loyola Marymount, 43-31. That was also a marked improvement from the previous night, when the Aggies were dominated on the glass, 39-24.

Amanda DeCoud scored 11 points to pace the Lions (3-3), who shot just 34 percent (21-of-61).

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