KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The defending Big 12 Conference champion Texas A&M women’s basketball team will take part in the prestigious 2008 State Farm Women’s Tip-Off Classic as announced by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Each year, the four-team classic is comprised of the nation’s best teams to kick off the upcoming women’s college basketball season. A&M is making its first-ever State Farm Tip-Off Classic appearance and will face Pittsburgh in a first-time meeting between the two schools on Sunday, Nov. 16 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. Host LSU and Notre Dame round out this year’s classic field leading into the 2008-09 season.
The Tigers and Fighting Irish will play in the opening game at 1:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2, while the Aggies and Panthers follow in the second contest which tips at 4 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2. The remainder of A&M’s non-conference and conference schedule will be released at a later date.
Last season, the Aggies (29-8) capped off a record-setting run by defeating traditional power Duke in the NCAA Sweet 16 to reach their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight where they lost to eventual national champion Tennessee. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh (24-11) advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, but later fell to eventual runner-up Stanford. LSU (31-6) and Notre Dame (25-9) reached the NCAA Final Four and Sweet 16 respectively.
A&M returns a veteran lineup under head coach Gary Blair including Associated Press All-America honorable mention and All-Big 12 Conference First Team standout Takia Starks (Houston, Texas), All-Big 12 First Team selection Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and fellow senior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas). Last year, the Aggies finished a program-best No. 8 in both the final AP and USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Polls.
In their most recent outing in Baton Rouge, which hosted the 2008 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds, the Aggies went an undefeated 2-0. A&M defeated UTSA in the first round and then the Jennifer Rizzotti-led Hartford Hawks in the second round to move on to the Oklahoma City Regional.
The State Farm Tip-Off Classic will be in its 16th consecutive year of existence this fall. The season-opening event has been made possible by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, State Farm, InterSport and ESPN2. Each year, the Tip-Off Classic has featured some of nation’s elite coaches, players and teams.
The mission of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is to “honor the past, celebrate the present and promote the future” of women’s basketball.