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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No. 15 Aggies host Bulldogs in top-15 showdown

Courtney+Walker+poured+in+29+points+against+Tennessee+in+her+last+outing.
Photo by Photo by: Brian Okosun

Courtney Walker poured in 29 points against Tennessee in her last outing.

The No. 15 Texas A&M women’s basketball team has had its last six games decided in the final minute of play, and there is a real possibility that Thursday’s game will offer more of the same as the Aggies welcome No. 11 Mississippi State to Reed Arena.

The Bulldogs (21-4, 8-3 SEC) are coached by former A&M assistant Vic Schaefer, who is expecting a tough test from the Aggies.

“We’re going into a very tough environment and playing a quality basketball team. Coach [Gary] Blair is a six-time hall of fame coach and those kids will be prepared,” Schaefer said. “Those seniors are the No. 2 recruiting class in the country. They’re a very talented and special group. They have had a lot of success in their careers.”

The game against Mississippi State will also be Corps of Cadets night. Blair had a message for Aggie Nation in his Wednesday press conference.

“I’m telling the fans right now — don’t go away early to see Scandal,” he said. “Stay, because it’s going to go right down to the wire.”

The Aggies (16-7, 6-4 SEC) will try to sustain the momentum they created in last Sunday’s comeback victory over Tennessee. In that game, senior Courtney Walker, the SEC’s leading scorer, poured in 29 points as they made up an 11 point deficit in the final three minutes of regulation, then cruised in the overtime period to a 76-71 victory.

Walker will be guarded primarily by Dominique Dillingham, whom Blair praised for her skill as a defender.

Mississippi State rides a four-game winning streak into College Station, and they are led by sophomore Victoria Vivians, who is second behind Walker on the conference scoring leaderboard. Vivians, who hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the Bulldogs’ overtime victory over the Aggies last year, has scored 10 or more points in six straight games.

“I think the game will be won at the guard position and on the defensive end,” Blair said.

Blair said senior point guard Jordan Jones, who was carted off the court on Sunday, remains day-to-day, and that he has complete confidence in Curtyce Knox to take over if Jones cannot play.

With two teams as talented and evenly-matched as the Aggies and Bulldogs are, Blair said that it comes down to execution.

“It’s all about execution,” Blair said. “We know the effort is going to be there, we know both teams are going to be up. This is a huge game for both of us.”

Finishing in the top four of the SEC would put the Aggies in a good position to be a host team in the NCAA tournament, but the incredible level of parity means they need to keep on winning.

“There’s 10 teams that still have a chance to finish in the top four in our league,” Blair said. “And what we want to do is make sure we are in that top four.”

Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be broadcasted on SEC Network.
 

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