AGGIE WOMEN TABBED PRESEASON FAVORITE IN BIG 12 COACHES POLL

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IRVING, Texas – The defending Big 12 Conference champion Texas A&M women’s basketball team was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win its second consecutive league title in the 2007-08 Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll released Friday.

Voted on by the league’s head coaches, the Aggies received seven of 12 first-place votes to edge out Oklahoma. A&M received a total of 117 points followed by OU (115), Baylor (97), Texas (86), Oklahoma State (66), Iowa State (64), Nebraska (56), Kansas State (54), Texas Tech (54), Kansas (43), Colorado (29) and Missouri (11). Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

The preseason selection is the highest-ever for the Aggies since the league’s inception in 1997. A&M was previously picked second in 2007 and seventh in 2006. In fact, the Aggies have made one of the biggest turnarounds in league history. In the first nine years of the Big 12, the league’s coaches had never tabbed A&M above No. 10 nor did the Aggies finish higher than ninth.

In just four seasons, 2007 Big 12 Coach of the Year Gary Blair has turned A&M into one of the top women’s basketball programs in the country. Last year, the Aggies reached the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season and spent a school-record 18 consecutive weeks in both national polls. They also posted an undefeated 16-0 record at Reed Arena and earned a program-best No. 4 seed in the Dallas Regional. In addition, A&M went a school-record 9-1 against Big 12 South opponents including sweeps of OU, Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Blair along with preseason All-Big 12 selections A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) and Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) will travel to the annual Big 12 Women’s Basketball Media Day on Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Kansas City, Mo. Junior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas), a Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection in 2007, will join Blair, Franklin and Starks at Media Day. The 2008 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship will be played on March 11-13 & 15 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.

2007-08 BIG 12 CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL

1. Texas A&M (7) 117

2. Oklahoma (5) 115

3. Baylor 97

4. Texas 86

5. Oklahoma State 66

6. Iowa State 64

7. Nebraska 56

8T. Kansas State 54

8T. Texas Tech 54

10. Kansas 43

11. Colorado 29

12. Missouri 11

(first-place votes in parentheses. coaches not allowed to vote for their own team)