Aggie Women picked third by SEC Coaches

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Texas A&Ms women’s basketball team has been picked third in the Southeastern Conference Preseason Coaches’ poll, the league’s office announced Tuesday. Kentucky, the defending SEC regular-season champion, was picked to win the SEC in 2013, followed closely by Georgia and Texas A&M.

The Aggies return two starters and six additional letterwinners from the 2012 Sweet 16 team, who are joined by Texas A&M’s highest-rated recruiting class in program history as they embark on the programs inaugural season of SEC play.

“As a newcomer to the SEC, I appreciate the league’s coaches recognizing our program. With that said, polls are for fans and the media to talk about before the season gets started,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “I thought we would be picked anywhere from third through fifth and it will be up to us to prove we are one of the better teams in this league.”

The Aggies will be battle tested prior to league play as the women will play three top-ten teams to open the season and will continue a difficult non-conference schedule prior to their first league game against Alabama on Jan. 3.
“Kentucky and Georgia both have at least four starters returning and should be league favorites,” Blair added. “Vanderbilt is also returning a great group of players. Tennessee is in a similar position to us, in that we lost some starters but have restocked the cupboard with some new players and coaches.”

The Aggies’ lone representative on the preseason first team was junior Kelsey Bone. Bone is not a newcomer to the league, having played her freshman year at South Carolina and led the league in rebounding prior to transferring to Texas A&M. Bone was recognized as the SEC Newcomer of the year in 2009-2010 and was Second Team All-SEC by the Associated Press (AP).

As the reigning SEC regular season champions, Kentucky returns 10 letterwinners and four starters from last season's NCAA Elite Eight squad, including SEC Player of the Year A'dia Mathies, SEC Freshman of the Year Bria Goss and NCAA Tournament Kingston All-Region team member Samarie Walker. The Wildcats also welcome back sophomore guard Jennifer O'Neill, who sat out the 2011-12 season due to injury, and junior forward DeNesha Stallworth, an All-Pac-10 selection at Cal, will see her first action after sitting out last season due to transfer regulations.

Kentucky tops the order of finish with 167 points, with Georgia (149), Texas A&M (145), Vanderbilt (143), Tennessee (117), South Carolina (102) and LSU (96) rounding out the top half of the coaches’ poll. Florida (92), Arkansas (72), Auburn (57), Mississippi State (51), Alabama (33), Missouri (33) and Ole Miss (17) finishing up the bottom half of the list.

Kentucky’s Mathies was voted the Preseason SEC Player of the Year, receiving nine of a possible 13 votes. Christina Foggie (3) of Vanderbilt and Anne Marie Armstrong (1) of Georgia also garnered votes for the accolade.

Joining Bone and Mathies on the preseason first team were Foggie, Armstrong, Sarah Watkins of Arkansas, Jennifer George of Florida, Jasmine Hassell of Georgia, Meighan Simmons of Tennessee and Jasmine Lister of Vanderbilt.

The second team consisted of Jasmine James of Georgia, Bria Goss and Samarie Walker of Kentucky, Adrienne Webb of LSU, Valencia McFarland of Ole Miss, Ieasia Walker of South Carolina, Ariel Massengale of Tennessee and Tiffany Clarke of Vanderbilt.

Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Kentucky 167
2. Georgia 149
3. Texas A&M 145
4. Vanderbilt 143
5. Tennessee 117
6. South Carolina 102
7. LSU 96
8. Florida 92
9. Arkansas 72
10. Auburn 57
11. Mississippi State 51
t12. Alabama 33
t12. Missouri 33
14. Ole Miss 17

Sarah Watkins, Arkansas
Jennifer George, Florida
Anne Marie Armstrong, Georgia
Jasmine Hassell, Georgia
A’dia Mathies, Kentucky
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee
Kelsey Bone, Texas A&M
Christina Foggie, Vanderbilt
Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt

Jasmine James, Georgia
Bria Goss, Kentucky
Samarie Walker, Kentucky
Adrienne Webb, LSU
Valencia McFarland, Ole Miss
Ieasia Walker, South Carolina
Ariel Massengale, Tennessee
Tiffany Clarke, Vanderbilt

A’dia Mathies, Kentucky 9
Christina Foggie, Vanderbilt 3
Anne Marie Armstrong, Georgia 1

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