Blair, Big 12 Champions Honored At Team Celebration Banquet

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COLLEGE STATION -- It was a night to remember by all in attendance as the nationally-ranked Texas A&M women’s basketball team was honored for its first-ever regular season conference title in school history and season accomplishments during the annual team celebration banquet held Tuesday night at The Zone Club at Kyle Field.

The Aggies closed out their 2006-07 season with their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and a program-best No. 10 national ranking in both the Associated Press Poll and USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Poll on Nov. 28, 2006. A&M earned the top seed leading into the Big 12 Championship with a program-best 13-3 conference record with sweeps of Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Baylor. The Aggies compiled their first undefeated season at home in the 33-year history of the program with a perfect 16-0 record at Reed Arena. A&M posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

In postseason play, the Aggies advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship and earned a program-best No. 4 seed in the Dallas Regional of the NCAA Tournament. A&M was also ranked in both national polls a school-record 19-straight weeks of the season. Leading the Aggies through the many historical milestones was Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair who was named Big 12 Coach of the Year as well as one of four finalists for the prestigious Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award.

Team awards were handed out with junior point guard A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) garnering Most Valuable Player honors. Franklin became A&M’s second all-time All-American selection next to former player Lisa Branch (1993-96) who received honorable mention status by Kodak and the AP in 1996. Franklin was one of two Aggies to play and start in all 32 games of the season and led the Big 12 for the third consecutive season with an impressive 1.91 assist-to-turnover ratio. She dished out a team-best 149 assists to become the third A&M player in school history to turn in three-straight 100+ assist seasons next to Toccara Williams (2000-04) and All-American Lisa Branch. Franklin was honored as an All-Big 12 First Team selection by the league’s coaches and by The Dallas Morning News. She was named twice this season as Big 12 Player of the Week and has recorded 454 career assists to date which ranks fourth all-time at A&M.

Junior Katy Pounds (Shallowater, Texas) was presented with the Miss Aggie Award, the team’s most coveted award given to an A&M player who demonstrates strong leadership, character, loyalty and commitment to the women’s basketball program as well as to the university and community. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, Pounds played in 24 games of the season and shot 41.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc. She is a sport management major carrying a 3.41 grade-point average and is a member of Aggie Athletes Involved.

Sophomores Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas) were both double award winners of the night. Gant was bestowed the Miss Hustle Award and 6th Man Award, while Micheaux was honored with the Miss Defense Award and Most Improved Award. Both were named to the inaugural Big 12 All-Defensive Team this season.

One of the most versatile players in the country, Gant was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection by the league’s coaches, the Dallas Morning News and the Waco Tribune. She holds the school’s NCAA Tournament single game record after tabulating 24 points and 14 rebounds against Texas-Arlington in A&M’s first round victory. Gant turned in the second-most points and rebounds on the team averaging 10.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. She shot the ball with a 56.7 percent accuracy from the floor which ranked fourth-best in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Micheaux grabbed a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game in 31 starts for the Aggies and ranked among the top 10 rebounders in the league.

Sophomore Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) received the Miss Offense Award after averaging a team-leading 14.2 points per game and being honored as an All-Big 12 First Team selection by the league’s coaches, the Dallas Morning News and the Waco Tribune. Starks was one of two Aggies to play and start in all 32 games of the season and ranked among the top 10 scoring leaders in the Big 12. She shot 38.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc which was seventh-best in the league.

Rounding out the award winners was freshman Damitria Buchanan (Houston, Texas) who was the recipient of the Newcomer of the Year Award. During her rookie campaign, Buchanan saw action in 28 games of the season averaging 4.9 minutes on the court. She also brought down 47 rebounds, the most among all freshmen on the squad.

Seniors Lenka Zimova (Partizanske, Slovakia), Jamila Ganter (Texarkana, Texas) and Jennifer Wilks (Frankston, Texas) were also honored for their contributions to the women’s basketball program and thanked their families, teammates, coaches, support staff, administrators, fans and friends for their support throughout their Aggie careers which included three postseason tournament appearances and the ultimate of hardware, a Big 12 Conference title.

2006-07 TEXAS A&M WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM CELEBRATION BANQUET

April 17, 2007

The Zone Club at Kyle Field

at College Station, Texas

MVP Award – A’Quonesia Franklin

Miss Aggie Award – Katy Pounds

Miss Defense Award – La Toya Micheaux

Miss Offense Award – Takia Starks

Miss Hustle Award – Danielle Gant

Newcomer of the Year Award – Damitria Buchanan

6th Man Award – Danielle Gant

Most Improved Award – La Toya Micheaux