COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For the first time in school history, the Texas A&M women’s basketball team (24-6) will make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances after receiving a program-best No. 4 seed in the Dallas Regional as the Aggies will face No. 13 seed Texas-Arlington (24-8) in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship on Saturday, March 17 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Game time between the Aggies and Mavericks is set for 1 p.m. (CT). All rounds of the NCAA Tournament will be televised exclusively on ESPN and ESPN2.
A&M leads 7-1 in the all-time series versus Texas-Arlington. The Aggies pulled out a narrow 72-70 victory in both team’s last meeting on Dec. 14, 2002 in College Station. A&M has won seven-straight in the series against the Mavs. The winner of the first-round matchup will take on the winner of No. 5 seed George Washington (26-3) or No. 12 seed Boise State (24-8). Other teams selected to the first-and second-round site hosted by USC are No. 6 Louisville (26-7), No. 11 BYU (23-9), No. 3 Arizona State (28-4) and No. 14 UC Riverside (21-9). All four teams are seeded in the opposite side of the bracket in the Greensboro Regional. North Carolina is the top seed in the Dallas Regional.
UTA advanced to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Stephen F. Austin, 68-47, in the Southland Conference championship game on March 10 to receive the league’s automatic bid. The Mavs finished the SLC regular season with an undefeated 16-0 record and have already registered the most wins in school history.
“The best thing about going to Los Angeles is that the road home is to Dallas,” said Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair who is in his fourth season with the Aggies and has now taken a team to the Big Dance on 13 all-time occasions. “For the second-straight year, we are going to play against another Texas school from one coast to another coast. What we need to do is learn how to win an NCAA Tournament game first. We have to learn how to beat Texas-Arlington. We will automatically have our hands full, because they are a very good ball club. We will have to get ready for two teams that we know will play matchup zone and use changing defenses. I cannot think of two coaches who coach the game better than (Texas-Arlington’s) Donna Capps and (George Washington’s) Joe McKeown. It is going to be a lot of fun and we are excited for this opportunity.”
This is the program’s fourth all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament after receiving an at-large bid in 1994 (NCAA Sweet 16) and an automatic bid in 1996 (NCAA First Round). Last season, the Aggies made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years and were seeded No. 6 in the 2006 Cleveland Regional and drew TCU in the NCAA First and Second Rounds in Trenton, N.J. They were previously seeded No. 13 in the 1994 West Regional and No. 7 in the 1996 West Regional. The Aggies are 2-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
A&M was one of six Big 12 teams to earn an NCAA Tournament bid on Selection Monday including No. 3 Oklahoma (26-4), No. 5 Baylor (25-7), No. 6 Iowa State (25-8), No. 9 Nebraska (22-9) and No. 10 Oklahoma State (20-10). Last year, the Aggies were one of four teams selected from the league. Non-conference A&M opponents who received an automatic or at-large bid included MEAC tournament champion Delaware State (20-12), Big East power West Virginia (20-10) and Pac-10 member Washington (18-12).
“To think about how far we have come as a program over the last two seasons,” said Blair on back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and the program’s first-ever Big 12 Championship. “This is a very special time to be an Aggie.”
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair On Jody Conradt’s retirement at Texas …
“Jody (Conradt) has set the bar for every high school and college coach in the state of Texas as well as throughout the country. She has done everything with class. She has done it with dignity and has done it with perfection. There are only two people in the women’s game who have achieved at the highest level for such a long period of time – Pat Summitt and Jody Conradt. When you measure greatness, you start with those two legends and what they have accomplished on-and-off the court. This is not only a loss for the University of Texas, but a loss for women’s basketball.”