COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 11/10 preseason nationally-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team will host the Houston Jaguars in exhibition play on Friday, Nov. 7 at Reed Arena.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. between the Aggies and Jaguars. Aggie Athletes Involved will host their annual coat drive and fans can purchase a general admission ticket for half-price with the donation of a coat. The exhibition game will be carried live on the Internet with commentary by first-year play-by-play announcer Mike Wright along with color analyst Tap Bentz via an audio link at www.AggieAthletics.com.
A&M enters the 2008-09 season with nine returning letterwinners, including three starters from last year’s NCAA Elite Eight squad. They are led by All-Big 12 Conference First Team performers Takia Starks (16.3 ppg) and Danielle Gant (14.7 ppg) as well as senior center La Toya Micheaux (5.3 rpg).
“The Jaguars will provide us with some good competition prior to the season with a combination of ex-college players and a few WNBA players on their roster,” said Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair, who enters his sixth season in Aggieland. “The exhibition will give us the opportunity to get all 14 of our players who are healthy into the ballgame including our walk-on. It will also give us a chance to work on our rotations.”
Blair and his staff have a cast of talented newcomers entering the mix including preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Tanisha Smith and preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyra White who will provide more scoring options for the Aggies this season.
“Our kids are so close in the rotation, so you have to play all of them,” said Blair on the intersquad competition. “Honestly, I cannot tell you who our top seven are right now. It is too close at the five position and it is open at the one position. At the four position, freshman Adaora Elonu is looking good in practice. It will take someone very special to beat her out right now. She has been our most consistent high-post player and isn’t making any freshman mistakes. We have a lot of depth on our team this season.”
The Aggies last faced the Houston Jaguars prior to the 2006-07 (W, 94-36) and 2001-02 (W, 86-64) seasons. Former players Tamea “Tweety” Scales (2003-06) and Brandy Jones (1998-00) have competed for the Jaguars in the past.
The Jaguars were founded in 1997 as a travel team to help women’s basketball players continue their post-collegiate career and aspire to take their playing skills to the next level of professional achievement. They are led by head coach Louis Ray III and boast former Kodak All-American Chandi Jones who played at the University of Houston and former WNBA player Umeki Webb who starred for North Carolina State.
Their fall schedule includes an exhibition tour against 15 Division I schools across the country including Baylor, SMU, Arizona State, UTEP, Texas Tech and LSU. The Jaguars most recently suffered losses to Baylor (123-70) on Nov. 3, SMU (82-70) on Nov. 4 and Arizona State (83-61) on Nov. 5.