COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M’s Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) was named preseason first team All-America by The Sporting News in its recently published 2008-09 college basketball yearbook.
One of the top returning players in the country, the 5-foot-8 senior guard is a two-time All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection and led the Aggies to their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance and Big 12 Tournament title in 2008. Last year, Starks earned All-America honorable mention status by The Associated Press and was a State Farm/WBCA All-America finalist. She averaged a team-leading and career-best 16.3 points per game which ranked sixth-best among Big 12 scoring leaders in 2007-08. Of the 10 players named to the first team, Starks was one of three players to hail from the Big 12.
As a team, the Aggies were picked No. 11 in the country in The Sporting News preseason top 25 women’s basketball poll. They bring back nine returners including senior All-America candidate Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.), senior center La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas), senior guard Kiley Finstad (Cranfills Gap, Texas), junior forward Damitria Buchanan (Houston, Texas), junior forward Katrina Limbaha (Riga, Latvia), sophomore guard Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas), sophomore guard Maryann Baker (Dallas, Texas) and former McDonald’s High School All-American and redshirt freshman Tyra White (Kansas City, Mo.) from last year’s NCAA Elite Eight squad.
A&M also welcomes the league’s highest-rated recruiting class with the addition of junior college All-American Tanisha Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) and freshmen Adaora Elonu (Houston, Texas), Kelsey Assarian (Naples, Fla.), Sydney Carter (DeSoto, Texas), Skylar Collins (Cedar Hill, Texas) and Taniqua Hollis (Anton, Texas).
“A 5-4 regular-season mark against ranked opponents isn’t the trademark of a potential top-10 team,” wrote women’s college basketball writer Joe Perez for The Sporting News. “But winning the last three against such challengers provided the Aggies with not only a nice confidence boost heading into the NCAA Tournament last year, it also gave the team a measuring stick to see just how far it had come.
“Now, with its top two players from last season returning along with a strong supporting cast, Texas A&M will again vie for the Big 12 title. The Aggies are a strong defensive team that pressures their opponents into coughing up the ball. A&M then milks the clock to further infuriate the other team. Senior guard Takia Starks (16.3) and swing player Danielle Gant (14.7) serve as the team’s lifelines. Texas A&M must find another scoring option, though, with the best being 6-0 freshman forward Adaora Elonu.”
2008-09 SPORTING NEWS PRESEASON TOP 25 POLL
6. North Carolina
11. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
14. Notre Dame
17. Arizona State
19. Ohio State
20. Florida State
2008-09 SPORTING NEWS ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Tina Charles (Connecticut)
Angel McCoughtry (Louisville)
Renee Montgomery (Connecticut)
Maya Moore (Connecticut)
Courtney Paris (Oklahoma)
Epiphanny Prince (Rutgers)
Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State)
Takia Starks (Texas A&M)
Kristi Toliver (Maryland)
Ashley Walker (Cal)
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