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Gary Blair
Courtney Walker
Achiri Ade
Texas A&M Women's Basketball

Aggies a six-seed in 2015 NCAAs, dance for 10th-straight season

March 16, 2015
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For the first time in four years, the Texas A&M women’s basketball team will not start the NCAA Tournament from the friendly confines of Reed Arena.

The last time such an occurrence happened, the Aggies rattled off six-straight victories on their way to the program’s first and only national title.

Matt Sachs, TexAgs With Jordan Jones out for the year, sophomore point guard Curtyce Knox will lead the Aggies into the NCAA Tournament. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"With Jordan Jones out for the year, sophomore point guard Curtyce Knox will lead the Aggies into the NCAA Tournament.","MediaItemID":53938}
On Monday night, the 21st-ranked Aggies (23-9) drew the sixth-seed in the Greensboro regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and learned that they would be traveling to Tempe, Arizona to take on 11th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock (28-4) at 3 p.m. on Saturday before a potential second round matchup with the hosting and third-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils (27-5) on Monday.

Although the 2010-2011 squad had a stronger tournament résumé than the current team and this year’s Aggies are without starting point guard and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Jordan Jones, head coach Gary Blair says his team is ready to get the tournament started.

“I was hoping the NCAA would reward us for what we’ve done the last three years because our attendance has been in the top three each year,” said Blair. “We’ve played the schedule, we have no bad losses. We’re happy to be playing.”

Arkansas Little-Rock (UALR) earned their spot in the field by winning the Sun Belt Tournament and will be making their fourth appearance in the big dance. Having coached in Arkansas for many years, Blair is very familiar with Trojans’ head coach Joe Foley and knows that his team will be well coached and ready for an attempt at the upset.

“I know them very well,” said Blair. “[Foley] is one of my closest friends in the game. He coaches kids up, he never gets the (high school) All-Americans. They’ve got three seniors and play well. I promise you one thing, you won’t see a zone defense from Joe Foley. They’re a man-to-man team that runs a motion offense and they do the little things well.”

If the Aggies get by UALR, it would potentially set up a rematch of the 2009 Trenton regional semifinals where sixth-seeded Arizona State upset second-seeded A&M for a berth in the Elite Eight. The Sun Devils face-off against the 14th-seeded Ohio Bobcats following the A&M-UALR game on Saturday evening.

"I think [we match up well with the teams in our sub-regional]," said Blair. “Arizona State has had a great year and has resurrected their program. We remember the game against them in 2009 very well. I just hope I get a chance to play two games. When you’re the six or seven seed you can’t look past the 10 or 11 seed.”

Matt Sachs, TexAgs A&M guard Courtney Walker says traveling for the first two rounds of the tournament will bring the team closer together. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"left","Size":"large","Caption":"A\u0026M guard Courtney Walker says traveling for the first two rounds of the tournament will bring the team closer together.","MediaItemID":52515}
Should the Aggies make it out of the Tempe sub-regional, they would be rewarded with a trip to Greensboro, North Carolina where if the bracket holds, a date with second-seeded Florida State awaits in the Sweet 16 before a potential all-SEC Elite Eight contest with top-seeded South Carolina.

Regardless of how far A&M goes in this year’s tournament, the Aggies can already say that they are just one of a handful of teams to make the tournament in each of the past 10 seasons. On top of that, if they are able to grab a first-round victory over UALR, they would be one of just five schools to pick up an NCAA Tournament victory in each of the last eight seasons.

“When we were being recruited, this is the kind of program we wanted to be a part of,” said junior guard Courtney Walker. “You want to be part of a great program with a great coaching staff and people around you that can make you the best you can be. I think that’s what we all get by coming to Texas A&M.”

For the first time since the 2006 tournament, A&M is seeded lower than a four and therefore are not the odds on favorite to make the Sweet 16 out of their sub-regional. While it wouldn’t be as much of a shock as a double-digit seed making a deep run, Blair is using a recently released movie to inspire his team.

"I’m going to take my basketball team to see the movie ‘Cinderella’," said Blair. “I want them to feel good about theirselves. We’re not a true Cinderella like the 13, 14, 15 or 16 seeds, but when you’re playing a little shorthanded and you haven’t played well the last couple of games, maybe we need that as our storyline. We need to find out how to be Cinderella and I need to be a good coach and be Cinder-fella sometimes.”
Discussion from...

Aggies a six-seed in 2015 NCAAs, dance for 10th-straight season

7,606 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 8 yr ago by aggieFann
Ronnie Woodard
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AG
Aggies a six-seed in 2015 NCAAs, dance for 10th-straight season
greg.w.h
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AG
You start exactly where you are. Congrats to our Ags and to their coaches and staff for keeping the streak alive. Don't look down, look up!
aggieFann
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I have a feeling that we will see zone. The other coach would be silly not to play us zone since we don't have a very good zone offense. I wish the ladies much luck this week. I hope they bring energy, play with passion, and most of all play like they're having fun.
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