Hoops Coaches Rank Ag Women 11th

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The defending Big 12 Conference champion Texas A&M women’s basketball team continues to make history with a program-best No. 11 ranking in the preseason USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll released on Wednesday.

This marks the first official preseason national ranking and second-highest national ranking ever for the women’s basketball program. The Aggies are making their second all-time appearance in the preseason coaches poll after receiving a No. 14 ranking leading into the 2006-07 season. A&M was ranked a school-best No. 10 in both The Associated Press and USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls during the regular season on Nov. 27, 2006. The preseason AP Poll is scheduled to be released on Nov. 3.

“People recognize what we have done and accomplished during these past four years,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “They are awarding us for our hardwork, our good recruiting and our kids playing well. We know we are not a household name yet, but hopefully this will be an encouraging sign to be among those names in the top 10 every year. We have a schedule that will keep us in the top 25, but we have to go out and produce this year. I am so happy for our kids because they have worked so hard.”

Defending national champion Tennessee (34-3) was selected as the preseason No. 1 team in the land with 26 first-place votes followed by Connecticut with four first-place votes. The Aggies will face five of the preseason top 25 teams in the upcoming season including non-conference matchups versus No. 13 George Washington on Dec. 20 and No. 19 Florida State on Dec. 6.

Last season, A&M (25-7) posted the second-most victories in school history en route to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. The Aggies return their top six scorers from a year ago along with a top recruiting class which boasts preseason All-Big 12 selections A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) and Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) and preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyra White (Kansas City, Mo.). A&M was predicted to win its second-straight Big 12 title by the league’s head coaches on Oct. 12.

2007-08 PRESEASON USA TODAY/ESPN TOP 25 COACHES POLL

1. Tennessee (34-3)

2. Connecticut (32-4)

3. Rutgers (27-9)

4. Maryland (28-6)

5. LSU (30-8)

6. Oklahoma (28-5)

7. North Carolina (34-4)

8. Stanford (29-5)

9. Duke (32-2)

10. Georgia (27-7)

11. Texas A&M (25-7)

12. Arizona State (31-5)

13. George Washington (28-4)

14. California (23-9)

15. Baylor (26-8)

16. Ohio State (28-4)

17. Vanderbilt (28-6)

18. Michigan State (24-9)

19. Florida State (24-10)

20. Purdue (31-6)

21. Pittsburgh (24-9)

22. West Virginia (21-11)

23. Louisville (27-8)

24. Texas (18-14)

25. North Carolina State (25-10)