One of the must-see, early marquee matchups of the Big 12 Conference season gets underway this weekend as the No. 8/6 Texas A&M women’s basketball team (14-1, 2-0) awaits a top 10 showdown with No. 3/3 Oklahoma (13-2, 2-0) on Sunday, Jan. 18 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. Tipoff between the Aggies and Sooners is slated for 3 p.m. (CT) and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net. Both teams are off to 2-0 starts, A&M’s first in the 13-year history of the Big 12, with the chance of gaining some early ground in the conference race. Playing on the road for most of the month of January, the Aggies will undoubtedly begin their toughest stretch of the season on Sunday with four-straight meetings penciled in against a top 25 opponent over the next week and a half of competition with the likes of No. 5/5 Baylor, No. 22/22 Oklahoma State and No. 16/17 Texas on their agenda. The Aggies have had the last five days to prepare for OU after a 67-56 victory over Texas Tech on Jan. 13 in College Station. A&M has been successful on the road this season with a 5-1 record and will try for just their third-ever win in 16 all-time trips to Norman. Each of A&M’s last two away contests in the OU series have been played in front of record-setting crowds over the 11,000+ mark presenting one of the toughest home courts in America.
ON THE TUBE
The Aggies will appear on television for the fifth time this season as play-by-play announcer Kevin Eschenfelder and color analyst Brenda VanLengen call the action live from the Lloyd Noble Center on Fox Sports Net. The game will be carried live throughout the country on FSN Detroit, FSN Florida, FSN Midwest, FSN North, FSN Northwest, FSN Ohio (Kentucky), FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Rocky Mountain, FSN Southwest, FSN Houston, FSN West, FSN Wisconsin, Comcast Bay Area, Comcast Chicago, Comcast Philadelphia, MSG Plus and SportSouth.
Oklahoma is on a roll having won nine of their last 10 games including their current eight-game win streak. The Sooners played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country for a No. 2 overall rating in the RPI indexes. Their two notches in the loss column have come against two of the three remaining unbeatens in the nation in No. 1 Connecticut (106-78) on Nov. 30 and No. 2 North Carolina (80-79) in the Preseason Women’s NIT on Nov. 23. OU is 3-2 versus the top 25 this season including a recent 64-48 win over previously undefeated and No. 17/14-ranked Kansas State on Jan. 14. The Sooners were tabbed the favorite to win the regular-season crown receiving seven first-place votes in the preseason Big 12 coaches poll behind the presence of three-time unanimous All-America and two-time conference player of the year Courtney Paris who is averaging her usual double-double with a team-best 15.7 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS
No. Name 2008-09 Stats
51 Sydney Colson, G, 5-8, So. 5.7 ppg, 3.9 apg
3 Takia Starks, G, 5-8, Sr. 14.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg
55 Danielle Gant, G/F, 5-11, Sr. 14.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg
21 Adaora Elonu, F, 6-1, Fr. 7.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg
12 La Toya Micheaux, C, 6-3, Sr. 3.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg
No. Name 2008-09 Stats
13 Danielle Robinson, G, 5-9, So. 11.9 ppg, 5.9 apg
25 Whitney Hand, G, 6-1, Fr. 9.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
21 Amanda Thompson, F, 6-0, Jr. 7.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg
5 Ashley Paris, F, 6-3, Sr. 14.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg
3 Courtney Paris, C, 6-4, Sr. 15.7 ppg, 13.2 rpg
2008-09 Category TAMU OU
Overall Record 14-1 13-2
Conference Record 2-0 2-0
Points Per Game 68.7 82.7
Scoring Margin +17.2 +21.5
Rebounds Per Game 41.1 43.8
Rebounding Margin +4.7 +12.0
Field Goal Percentage 41.8 48.7
Field Goal% Defense 33.4 38.1
Three-Point FG% 32.2 34.1
Free Throw Percentage 66.3 69.0
Turnovers Per Game 17.3 15.1
Assists Per Game 14.3 17.3
Blocks Per Game 4.5 5.1
Steals Per Game 12.5 9.9
Oklahoma holds a 24-11 series advantage over A&M, but the Aggies have won three of the last four meetings between the two Big 12 South rivals including a 73-59 (+14) victory to close out the Big 12 regular season on March 6, 2008 in College Station. Last season, both teams split the series as the Sooners claimed a 68-56 (+12) win before a Lloyd Noble Center-record crowd of 12,168 on Feb. 12, 2008. A&M is 2-13 when playing on the road in Norman, while OU is 19-10 overall in league regular-season games versus the Aggies.