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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 SEC Tournament ready

Freshman+Chennedy+Carter+comes+up+for+the+shot.
Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes

Freshman Chennedy Carter comes up for the shot.

The No. 15 Texas A&M women’s basketball team will kick off the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday when they take on Arkansas at 2 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Aggies defeated the Razorbacks 104-60 on Feb. 22, marking A&M’s largest margin of victory in an SEC game since 2013. The last time these two teams met in a conference tournament, the Aggies notched a 59-58 victory in the quarterfinals of the 1988 Southwest Conference Tournament.
“When we went to Arkansas after coming off a disappointing loss [to Mississippi State], we went right to work,” head coach Gary Blair said. “There was no doubt from the opening whistle what we were going to do and our kids shared the ball. We spread it around, five kids in double figures. We were working as a complete team.”
Junior forward Anriel Howard said the team has been focusing more on defensive strategy in preparation for the tournament.
“I think that we’re locking in a little more, not only in the games but also in practice,” Howard said. “We haven’t been the best practice team since I’ve been here, but we’re slowly getting better. We’re listening to the defensive plans and we’re out there playing harder, just giving more effort and wanting to be good on defense.”
The Aggies currently hold a season record of 22-8, with a 11-5 record against conference opponents.
Arkansas is 13-17 on the season and 3-13 in SEC play. The Razorbacks are coming off a 88-76 win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday.
Freshman point guard Chennedy Carter received her fourth SEC Freshman of the Week award on Monday, after averaging 22 points, 4.5 rebounds and five assists over two games. On Tuesday, Carter added both the United States Basketball Writers’ Association National Freshman of the Week honor and the SEC Freshman of the Year award. She was also named First Team All-SEC.
“I was really happy because I get to share this moment not only with myself, but with my family, my teammates and my coaching staff,” Carter said. “This is a great award. I couldn’t have done it without them. When I first came to A&M, I knew that I’d have to do some big things and do things that freshmen don’t typically do. My coaching staff believed in me and my teammates believed in me and we’re here, so I’m glad for that.”
Blair said he is proud of Carter, not only for the accolades, but also for her growth as a player.
“She’s getting better as a point guard,” Blair said. “I know what she can do as a scorer, but she’s getting better as a point guard and that’s the extension of myself. She’s got to think on the same lines I am: who needs the ball, when they need the ball, where they need the ball and being able to get her teammates involved in the offense early in the ballgame.”
Senior center Khaalia Hillsman joined Carter in recognition by the SEC, earning Second Team All-SEC honors on Tuesday.
Carter said while she set several goals before this season, including personal goals such as earning SEC Freshman of the Week, the success of the team was a priority.
“The most important goal was just do what I can and lead my team and win,” Carter said. “Of course all the single accolades are there, but the most important goal was to win and get to a national championship.”
The winner of this game will move on to face No. 24 LSU at 2 p.m. on Friday.
“We will have some fun in Nashville, but winning is the most important thing about having fun,” Blair said. “Our kids are playing well right now. They feel good about themselves and I want to keep this thing going.”

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