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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Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

 

The undefeated Texas A&M women’s basketball team will compete in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout this weekend in Las Vegas. The tenth-ranked Aggies will play No. 16 Ohio State on Friday at 2:00 and then No. 11 California on Saturday at 2:00.

Head coach Gary Blair enters these games in search of his 700th career victory. His current win total sits at 699, and winning at least one of the next two games would make him the 16th division I head coach to reach that plateau.

This tournament presents the Aggies with their third and fourth high-profile opponent of the season, as Blair was more aggressive than ever in assembling his pre-conference schedule.

“The first thing that happens is that we play the teams, we play the risk-reward teams,” said Blair, who ranks ninth among current coaches in wins. “There’s a lot of teams that are in the top ten or top 25 that do not play enough of them, and I think this is what will make you better.”

The Aggies were recently named the women’s basketball team of the week by NCAA.com, and senior guard Courtney Walker was named the ESPN National Player of the week for her efforts last week.

The Aggies managed to beat both Duke and TCU, but Blair said that the two teams they will square off against in Vegas will each pose a bigger challenge than the Blue Devils and Horned Frogs did.

“I really believe both of these teams are playing better than Duke was playing when we played them,
he said. “If you could tell me right now that we could be 4-0, just moved into the top ten – we just got the ESPN player of the week and beat Duke and a good TCU – I’d say we’d be on cloud nine, which we are.”

Blair described Ohio State as a top ten team even though they have lost two games, and he was even more complimentary of Cal.

“They’re long, athletic, just like UCLA and Duke,” he said of the Golden Bears. “They’re young, talented and well-coached, they went to the Final Four three years ago. They’re top three in the league. They have five or six good teams in the Pac-12 and California, I believe, had just about out-recruited everybody the last couple of years.”

The Buckeyes and Golden Bears are two more quality opponents that the Aggies will have to play, and Blair said that the Aggies still have plenty to work on before their SEC opener against Georgia on January 3.

“We play ten games in a row [against top-tier competition], we’ve finished two,” Blair said. “We’re going to play eight more that are all of this caliber. What we’ve got to do is get better, keep people happy that are on the bench, and then try to extend our rotation to at least 10 players a ballgame so we can get a little more rest before we go into conference play.”
Both games will be streaming live and are available to be purchased at SportToursLive.net.

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