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

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

The Battalion

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Courtney+Walker+dribbles+up+the+court.
Photo by Photo By: Kathryn Perez
Courtney Walker dribbles up the court.

The No. 13 Texas A&M women’s basketball team will take to the hardwood Thursday against No. 23 Missouri in an attempt to avenge last Sunday’s close loss to South Carolina.

In the game against South Carolina, the Aggies (13-5, 3-2) made a late run that tied the game with about one second left, only to mistakenly foul the Gamecocks’ point guard on the ensuing possession. The point guard capitalized on the foul by making a game-winning free throw.

The Gamecocks remain undefeated and rank No. 2 in the country, but A&M head coach Gary Blair was excited about how his team played in such a hostile environment. Blair said the gym was so loud during the game that his players could not hear him making calls from the bench on several occasions.

“That was [like] a regional final game to get to the Final Four,” Blair said at Monday’s press conference. “That’s how well that game was played by both teams, and the defense was outstanding by both of us.”

Blair said that while it was a tough loss, he was impressed with how his team handled it. 

“We just played in front of 15,000 people, and it was a tough ballgame,” Blair said. “We’ve had good practices the last two days because our kids feel good about the effort and how we ran our ball screen offense. We got some good transition; we had great help side defense. We played about as well as we could.”

Although the Tigers have stumbled to a 2-3 start in SEC play, Blair said they are a solid team, and it is going to take a great effort to beat them.

“They were 13-0 in non-conference by playing a soft schedule to give their team confidence,” he said. “They’re legit. They could have played a hard schedule and still been 13-0. They’re a good ball club.”

One of A&M’s top priorities will be slowing down guard Sophie Cunningham, who leads the team in scoring and was recently named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season.

“She’s a load at 6-1,” Blair said. “She can play anywhere [on the court] and she’s very physical. 

Chelsea Jennings might be tasked with doing just that, as her defensive prowess has earned her a spot in the starting lineup of late.

“She really feels good about herself right now,” Blair said. “I can’t bring her off the bench, because I have to have her defense. She’ll probably be on the other team’s best player the majority of the way down the stretch.”

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Reed Arena. The game will be televised on SEC Network Plus.

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