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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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Women’s basketball begins 2022-23 campaign

Joni+Taylor+is+taking+over+as+the+new+head+coach+for+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+womens+basketball+program+with+the+retirement+of+former+head+coach+Gary+Blair.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Ishika Samant

Joni Taylor is taking over as the new head coach for Texas A&M’s women’s basketball program with the retirement of former head coach Gary Blair. 

The Texas A&M women’s basketball team will open its 2022-23 campaign in Reed Arena with a pair of non-conference matchups on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m, against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sunday, Nov. 12 against Army at 2 p.m.

The Aggies are coming off a losing season, where they posted a 14-15 overall record and 4-12 in conference play. Notably, longtime head coach Gary Blair retired at the end of the 2021-22 season and former Georgia head coach Joni Taylor now leads the team. 

Taylor takes the helm and the challenges of such a young team that is predicted to finish 11th in the conference according to the SEC Preseason Media Poll. Taylor said she feels that prediction is accurate.

“The timeline for us is we want to be better today than we were yesterday,” Taylor said. “We were picked 11 out of 14, and I would say that’s very accurate in terms of where we are and what our league looks like.” 

Coming into this season, the Aggies are a fresh team with players that have little to no game experience which makes this season that much more difficult, Taylor said. 

“That’s what’s challenging,” Taylor said. “They’re all young, and even if they’re not young in age, they are very ill-experienced. The players that returned and our newcomers don’t have a ton of playing experience. You take [graduate forward Aaliyah] Patty and [senior center Sydnee] Roby out of it, most of our returners didn’t get to play much last year because of the starters that had been in the program that last couple of years. We’re the second-youngest team in the SEC.” 

With this being her first year coaching in Aggieland, Taylor said the support she has received is appreciated, especially the mentorship of A&M men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams,.

“Buzz [Williams] has been absolutely wonderful,” Taylor said. “We chat all the time, and he’s been great, so I look forward to learning from him. You talk about someone who has a brilliant mind, not just as it relates to basketball but life. I’m super excited to soak up everything I can from him.” 

Taylor said that despite the challenges presented this season, the team remains focused on improving each and every day, embodied by its season motto: ‘Becoming.’ 

“Our motto is ‘Becoming’ for a reason,” Taylor said. “That is what this year is about; we’re becoming sisters, becoming consistent, becoming rebounders, becoming scorers. Becoming whatever that blank is, we want to fill it, and right now, it’s becoming consistent.” 

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