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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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One step away
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Blair prepares for final season as A&M women’s basketball coach

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Texas A&M women’s basketball coach Gary Blair will officially begin his final season with the Aggies on Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. 

One more season.
No. 23 Texas A&M women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair will suit himself and his team up for the first regular game of the season, for the last time. On Tuesday, Nov. 9, A&M will take on A&M-Corpus Christi in that benchmark contest, followed by another game against Southern University on Thursday, Nov. 11.
The Aggies are coming off of an 89-38 victory over Oklahoma Baptist in their one and only exhibition match on the slate.
Blair said he mentally prepares his program the same way before each and every face-off.
“We’re preparing ourselves,” Blair said. “I get our team ready to play whoever we’re playing. We’re guarding numbers. We give respect to their best returning player; I give respect to their coaching staff … [and] to what that program represents.”
Tuesday’s contest will be Corpus Christi’s first game of the season. During the Islanders’ 2020-2021 campaign, they went 6-13 overall and 4-7 in the Southland Conference.
In Corpus Christi’s final game, then-freshman Paige Allen solidified herself as a player to watch — making two three-pointers of four attempts. Additionally, Allen finalized the 2020-2021 season with 428 minutes played and became second in the team in scoring by averaging 9.6 points a game.
Blair said how the Aggies do against individual players factors in a huge role when it comes to SEC rankings.
“But for each individual, I’m more excited [because] that is when we are going to get our SEC Championship ranks. That is something that hopefully [Aggies] will be able to be in attendance to be able to see that.”
Texas A&M had a successful season during its own 2020-2021 season slate. The Aggies were crowned the SEC Champions after defeating then-No. 5 South Carolina 65-57 in 2021. They went on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament and finished with a 35-3 overall record.
A&M will have a two-day turnaround to prepare for its game against Southern University after finishing off Corpus Christi.
Southern will serve as a tougher opponent for the Aggies. The Jaguars went 12-11 overall and 11-4 in conference in 2021-21. Southern ended its season in its second game during the 2021 Cricket Wireless SWAC Basketball Tournament, losing 69-60 to then-No.2 Alabama State University.
Blair said if there was a position group for Aggies to keep their eyes on this season, they should find the point-guards on the court.
“I’ve got three point-guards back,” Blair said. “I expect basketball IQ to be at a higher level at the point-guard position … I expect our basketball IQ to be at the highest. I push that position very hard because I believe in it. I want someone that’s accountable, responsible and can own up.”
Junior guard Jordan Nixon fits right into those categories.
In 2021-2021, Nixon was the Aggies’ go-to on the court, averaging 10.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. In the second round of the NCAAs, she brought the Aggies national exposure during her buzzer beater in overtime against Iowa State, winning the game 84-82.
Blair said he wants to see a high attendance rate in Reed Arena for the 2021 SEC Champions.
“I think the media has forgotten that us and soccer, we’re the only ones that won SEC Championships last year,” Blair said. “I think that both of those programs should be rewarded for that accomplishment.”
Tip-off against Corpus Christi will take place at 7 p.m. in Reed Arena, followed by the other home game against Southern, also at 7 p.m., on Thursday.

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