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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
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Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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A&M welcomes new journalism professors from CNN, Dallas Morning News
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Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
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Newcomers ready to start out strong

Texas A&M women’s basketball Head Coach Gary Blair may feel like he’s starting from scratch this season, in only his second year with the program.
The Aggies are sporting new uniforms, a new offense and a dearth of experience as they prepare to write the newest chapter of “The Blair Hoops Project.”
With the departure of both Classen twins – Lynn and Lara – and Aggie standout Toccara Williams, Blair suddenly found himself missing a lot of size and a lot of offense.
Only two players, junior guard Tamea Scales and senior guard Mindy Garrison, return from last year’s 9-19 team. Blair said his team’s youth – more than half of the players are freshmen – might just turn out to be an advantage.
“All my freshmen are used to winning. They’re used to winning state championships and dealing with the press,” Blair said. “They have egos like all good players should have, they don’t want to hear anything about (9-19).”
One player on the tip of everyone’s tongue is the freshman with the biggest shoes to fill. With Williams drafted by the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, A’Quonesia Franklin is hoping to carve her own niche into the Aggie Pantheon.
“You can’t keep her off the floor,” Blair said. “She makes a lot of mistakes, but she will be one of the flashiest point guards in the country.”
Franklin said Blair’s fast-paced offense and emphasis on defensive intensity appeal to her.
“Everybody on this team can score,” Franklin said. “I’m able to be a point guard, I can penetrate and kick the ball out. I can get everybody involved.”
One of those players looking to benefit from good passing is Garrison, the team’s best pure shooter. Garrison said the influx of freshmen suits the new offense perfectly.
“They’re going to add a lot of quickness,” Garrison said. “They’ll be able to push the ball up the court faster than last year.”
The freshmen certainly are going to need to take full advantage of their speed and athleticism: The tallest player on the team, freshman post Ogadi Chinweze, stands a mere 6-feet-1.
The newest additions to the team come with a lot of promise. Players like Ashley Bolden and Morenike Atunrase have the potential and raw skills to lead this team to new heights, Blair said.
“It’s going to look a little hully-gully early,” Blair said of his team’s first few games with a new offensive style. “We’re going to be either pressin’ or prayin’.”

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