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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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A&M looks to make history in regular season finale

No.+3+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+will+take+on+No.+5+South+Carolina+in+pursuit+of+the+Aggies+first+ever+SEC+regular+season+title.
Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

No. 3 Texas A&M will take on No. 5 South Carolina in pursuit of the Aggies’ first ever SEC regular season title.

A premiere matchup between two of the top teams in the country will be held in Reed Arena this weekend when the No. 3 Texas A&M women’s basketball team hosts No. 5 South Carolina in a battle for the SEC regular season championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Sunday’s matchup will mark the first time Reed Arena has hosted an AP top-5 contest, and a win over South Carolina would give the Aggies their first SEC regular season title in program history.
“You just live for the moment,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “You do not want to miss those moments in life. It’s not about winning or losing as much as it’s having the opportunity to be in this environment and play for a championship. This is the first time we’ve played for a championship in the regular season since 2007. We don’t want to miss this.”
Led by 13-year head coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina is seeking its second consecutive regular season title and its sixth overall. The Gamecocks have a 7-3 overall record against the Aggies and have won the last seven matchups.
With general admission tickets already sold out for the first time this season, A&M sports pass holders and students will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Blair said he is excited to see his team play in front of the largest crowd they have seen this season.
“We’re going to have people in the upper deck for the first time since probably 2012 or 2013 and I’m going to love seeing it,” Blair said. “Even though we’re spread out we’ll be able to hear that Aggie Spirit. I wish we could have the band out there, the Corps out there, the dance team, the Yell Leaders and all of that but we’re in a different situation. We’ll be able to feel you while you’re there cheering us on whether you’re over at Northgate, on your couch or you’re in person.”
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Aggies will have the tall task of controlling the reigning SEC champions who have a strong presence on offense with players like sophomore guard Zia Cooke and on defense with players like sophomore forward Aliyah Boston.
Senior center for A&M Ciera Johnson said it will be a team effort for A&M to contain Boston, who averages a double-double and has 65 blocks on the season.
“There’s no stopping her,” Johnson said. “You just want to try and contain her as much as possible.”
Also on the Aggies’ minds this Sunday will be senior night, in which A&M will celebrate five graduates and one lone senior. Johnson, Anna Dreimane, N’dea Jones, Kayla Wells, Aaliyah Wilson and Destiny Pitts will be honored with a ceremony prior to tipoff.
Johnson describes the possibility of winning tomorrow’s game as “icing on the cake,” for this senior class.
“We’ve been through so much adversity since we’ve been here at A&M and we’ve had so many ups and downs so I just think winning this SEC regular season championship will be the icing on the cake,” Johnson said. “But if we win this game tomorrow, the job’s not done, we’ve still got to go out and try to win the SEC tournament and make a push for the NCAA tournament — I feel like it will be the first layer of icing for us.”
Sophomore guard Jordan Nixon will lead a balanced A&M team into one of its toughest games of the season. Nixon, who averages 9.1 points a game, said her team is looking to play South Carolina with the same intensity they give all of their SEC opponents.
“Honestly everyone is just taking this like a game that we have to win — like Alabama, like any game in the SEC,” Nixon said. “There is a lot on the line here, there’s history to be made … I think we’ve done such a good job of building a habit to just take things one day at a time.”

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