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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

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No. 5 Aggies to take on Owls in home debut

Kelley Starnes — THE BATTALION
Women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair address reporters at Tuesday’s press conference.
Kelley Starnes — THE BATTALION Women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair address reporters at Tuesday’s press conference.

After winning the Maggie Dickson Classic in Chicago last weekend, the No. 5 Texas A&M women’s basketball team will make its Reed Arena debut Wednesday against the Rice Owls.
“We’re not going to worry about Rice, we’re going to worry about Texas A&M,” said head coach Gary Blair. “Right now we’ve got to correct some of our problems. You do that on the practice court at 2:30. You give respect to your opponent, but we’ve got to correct our problems. The target is on our back.”
A&M (3-0) won three games in three days to begin its 2014-15 campaign, including a 76-68 victory over then-No. 18 Depaul, whom the Aggies also defeated in the Sweet 16 during the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Despite the win, junior point guard Jordan Jones was unhappy with her performance.
“With so many different combinations being thrown in the game, we were all just trying to get a feel for each other and establish some chemistry,” Jones said. “As a point guard, two assists and six turnovers is just totally unacceptable to reach the goals that we’re trying to reach. Coach Blair and I have talked about that. That’s really one of the things that he’s harped on to Curtyce [Knox] and I is the assist-to-turnover ratio.”
The Owls (1-0) defeated Prairie View A&M 70-58 in their season opener and last faced off against the Aggies at Reed Arena in 2013, falling 80-57 on New Year’s Day.
The Aggies have received an early boost this season from redshirt sophomore Taylor Cooper, who had to sit out last season per NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Oral Roberts University. Cooper had 11 points in 21 minutes off the bench in A&M’s 63-61 win over UT-Pan American, and Blair hopes Cooper’s three-point shooting will help his team to attack zone defenses, an area in which they have struggled.
“She’s got to be a catch-and-shoot person,” Blair said. “If she penetrates, then she needs to be a distributor or find a way to score by using her size. She’s going to help us a lot more [mentally] and knowing the game the more opportunities that she gets, and if we see zone tomorrow night you’re going to see a lot of Cooper.”
Glad to be back on the court, Cooper said she is ready to step into any role that will help the team to succeed.
“I’m just going to do whatever the team needs,” Cooper said. “If that means rebounding or my three-point shot if we play against a zone, I think that’ll help a lot. That’ll stretch the defense out and will allow Courtney [Walker] and Jordan and Courtney Williams to get some penetration in the paint. It’ll open up our five players a lot more. Whatever the team needs for that specific game, I’ll do.”
Tipoff against the Owls is at 7 p.m. and the game has been designated Social Media Night. The first 500 fans who go to the marketing tables and show that they like or follow Texas A&M women’s basketball on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will receive an @AggieWBB lanyard.

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