Aggie Women Back In The Top 10 In Both National Polls, Starks Named Preseason Naismith Trophy Candidate

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COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M women’s basketball team (9-1) returned to the top 10 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Polls. The Aggie women moved up in the rankings after claiming a 62-60 victory over No. 14 and previously unbeaten Auburn on Dec. 15.

A&M climbed two spots to No. 10 in the latest AP Poll released on Monday and one spot to No. 10 in the Coaches Poll released on Tuesday. It marked the first time for the Aggies to be ranked among the top 10 in the AP Poll this season, while A&M was previously ranked No. 10 in the Coaches Poll during week 2.

A&M’s No. 10 ranking tied the program’s highest national ranking in school history as the Aggies were ranked No. 10 in both national polls during the regular season on Nov. 27, 2006. They have now appeared a program-best 32-straight weeks in the AP Poll and 27-straight weeks in the Coaches Poll since the 2005-06 season. A&M takes on its second consecutive top 25 opponent of the season at No. 22 George Washington (8-3) on Thursday night in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, preseason All-Big 12 Conference standout Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) was one of 50 players in the nation to be tabbed as preseason candidates for the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Tuesday. Starks was one of three Big 12 players on the list and is also a preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award.

The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s player of the year. The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors which based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2007-08 campaign. There are 27 seniors, 18 juniors and five sophomores on the list which does not include incoming freshmen who will be considered in the first ballot in January.

AT&T will continue to set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining this year’s winner for the Naismith Trophy. Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25 percent of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award.

In January, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its preseason list to the top 30 players in the nation. Those players will be eligible for the final ballot in March. The Naismith Trophy winner will be recognized at the 2008 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla.

Last year’s Naismith Trophy recipient was Lindsey Harding of Duke. Other notable winners include USC’s Cheryl Miller, Virginia’s Dawn Staley, Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw and Connecticut’s Diana Taurasi.

ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25 POLL

1. Tennessee (9-0)

2. Connecticut (7-0)

3. North Carolina (10-1)

4. Maryland (13-1)

5. Stanford (8-1)

6. Rutgers (8-2)

7. Georgia (9-0)

8. LSU (7-2)

9. Oklahoma (7-2)

10. Texas A&M (9-1)

11. Baylor (7-1)

12. California (8-2)

13. West Virginia (9-1)

14. Duke (7-3)

15. DePaul (8-0)

16. Auburn (9-1)

17. Notre Dame (9-1)

18. Ohio State (7-2)

19. Texas (8-2)

20. Oklahoma State (8-0)

21. Vanderbilt (8-3)

22. Arizona State (5-4)

23. Michigan State (7-3)

24. Wyoming (9-1)

25. Old Dominion (6-3)

ESPN/USA TODAY COACHES TOP 25 POLL

1. Tennessee (9-0)

2. Connecticut (8-0)

3. North Carolina (11-1)

4. Stanford (8-1)

5. Maryland (13-1)

6. Rutgers (8-2)

7. Georgia (9-0)

8. LSU (7-2)

9. Oklahoma (7-2)

10. Texas A&M (9-1)

11. Baylor (7-1)

12. California (8-2)

13. West Virginia (10-1)

14. DePaul (9-0)

15. Duke (7-3)

16. Auburn (10-1)

17. Notre Dame (9-1)

18. Ohio State (7-2)

19. Vanderbilt (8-3)

20. Texas (8-2)

21. Arizona State (6-4)

22. George Washington (7-3)

23. Oklahoma State (8-0)

24. Michigan State (7-3)

25. Wyoming (10-1)