NO. 11 TEXAS A&M HOSTS CHINESE NATIONAL TEAM IN EXHIBITION TILT

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COLLEGE STATION - The 11th-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team hosts the Chinese National Team in its first exhibition game of the preseason on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. at Reed Arena.

The Aggies return all five starters from last year’s NCAA Tournament and Big 12 Conference champion squad including preseason All-Big 12 standouts A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) and Takia Starks (Houston, Texas). Franklin ranks fourth all-time in career assists (454) and was an Associated Press All-America honorable mention a year ago. Starks, a preseason candidate for the prestigious John R. Wooden Women’s Award, is the team’s top returning scorer averaging 14.2 points per game which ranked eighth best in the league last season.

The active roster also includes the supporting cast of senior Patrice Reado (Houston, Texas), junior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas), junior Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.), sophomore Ashlaa Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas), senior LaToya Gulley (Fayetteville, Ark.), sophomore Damitria Buchanan (Houston, Texas) and sophomore Katrina Limbaha (Riga, Latvia). It will be the unofficial debut for A&M’s highly-touted freshman class which includes Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas), Tyra White (Kansas City, Mo.) and Maryann Baker (Dallas, Texas).

The Chinese National Team is currently ranked 10th in the world after FIBA World League Tournament play in Russia. China took fourth-place at the tournament with losses to CSKA Moscow (103-56) on Oct. 26 and to UMMC Ekaterinberg (84-76) on Oct. 24. Only four players on the China roster are under six-feet tall including 5-foot-8 standout Miao Lijie who plays for the WNBA champion Sacramento Monarchs. China will play a six-game college tour which includes stops at New Mexico (Nov. 1), North Carolina (Nov. 6), Rutgers (Nov. 8), UTEP (Nov. 11) and Arizona State (Nov. 15). They opened their U.S. tour by defeating New Mexico, 67-61. Lijie scored a team-high 15 points as China knocked down 51.2 percent of their shots from the floor against the Lobos Thursday night.

Ticket prices range from $11-$5 and can be purchased at The 12th Man Foundation Ticket Center at Kyle Field and at the Reed Arena Box Office. Fans who attend Saturday’s Texas A&M volleyball match versus Iowa State can bring their ticket stub to the Reed Arena Box Office and purchase a ticket for $2 admission.

The Aggies will officially commence the 2007-08 season at former Southwest Conference rival SMU on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

Aggie Basketball Goes Global…A&M’s exhibition tilt versus the Chinese National Team will be available via a live video feed on AggieAthletics.com with radio commentary provided in Chinese by Texas A&M international students Jie Meng and Jianwei Wang.

An International Affair…The Aggies will hold a “Night of All Nations” promotion for the exhibition game. International students, faculty and organizations throughout the A&M campus have been invited to attend the game and support the Aggie women as they take on world-class competition. International student-athletes representing Texas A&M’s athletic teams will also be on hand to sign autographs prior to the game on the concourse level of Reed Arena. International Aggie students can e-mail swheiles@athletics.tamu.edu to arrange for free tickets. Other international groups can get a discounted ticket for only $2.

Playing the Best of the Best…A&M will face two of the top 10 teams in the world in a nine-day span. The U.S. Women’s National Team headlined by three-time Olympian Lisa Leslie will take on the Aggies in its second exhibition game of the season on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. at Reed Arena. Team USA is coming off a gold-medal finish at the FIBA World League Tournament which automatically qualified them for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. A&M is one of eight schools on the 2007 U.S. College Tour which includes stop at Maryland (Oct. 31), Connecticut (Nov. 2), defending national champion Tennessee (Nov. 4), Baylor (Nov. 6), Arizona State (Nov. 8), USC (Nov. 13) and Stanford (Nov. 15). In conjunction with the Veteran’s Day Celebration in downtown Bryan, all local veterans will be given two free tickets to the game and additional tickets can be purchased for $2.

Making A Difference…Aggie Athletes Involved will sponsor a coat drive prior to all men’s and women’s basketball exhibition games. Candy 95 will have a remote set up prior to each game and student-athletes will be stationed at the Candy vehicle to collect donations. One winner will be selected during each game for a chance to win an autographed basketball. All donors will receive a voucher good for one half-price ticket to any of the exhibition games this season. All donated coats and blankets will be donated to Twin City Mission in Bryan.