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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Aggies look to defend SEC tournament title

 
 

The No. 15 Texas A&M women’s basketball team will defend its SEC Tournament title beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday inside the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Last year, the Aggies took home the championship in their first year in the league after upsetting the Kentucky Wildcats, 75-67.
A&M (23-7, 13-3 SEC) has posted a 15-3 record in tournament play since 2008.
The Aggies played seven games against ranked opponents in conference play this season and head coach Gary Blair said the difficulty of each league game is what separates the SEC from other conferences.
“Look what Alabama did just on the road, not at home, beating Kentucky, beating Vanderbilt – you don’t go into those two places and win on the road very often,” Blair said. “I like the competition.”
A trio of A&M sophomores – guard Courtney Walker, forward Courtney Williams and point guard Jordon Jones – received All-SEC honors this week. While the Aggies may be marked by youth, Blair said the experience the young players have gained this year will be valuable in their future.
“The sophomores have done great, but at the same time they’re getting the maturity and experience to go with their talent,” Blair said. “When all that [comes] together, hopefully in their junior year, I think they’re going to be pretty good.”
Three Aggies are averaging more than 10 points on the season, including Walker, Williams and senior center Karla Gilbert. A&M’s holistic style was epitomized in its recent win over the Florida Gators, where four Aggies scored in double figures.
“There are not many teams that improve their shooting percentage in the SEC versus their nonconference [opponents], and we have done that,” Blair said. “We realize who we are and who we’re not. We’re not a great three-point shooting team so [we] must have a balance of inside and outside [shots.] Karla Gilbert might be out most valuable player because of how many people she takes up. A great example of that was in the Florida game. They didn’t have the inside people to match up, and she had a field day in the second half. I think our kids are really good at realizing who the hot hand is.”
As the No. 3 seed, A&M will watch the first two days of the tournament from the sidelines, allowing the team to scout its potential opponents. The Aggies first game will come in the quarterfinals of the tournament, leaving them three victories away from a successful title defense.

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