DULUTH, Georgia — No. 19 Texas A&M (21-9, 11-4) will tip off at 1:30 p.m. (CT) against an undetermined opponent Friday March 8 at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The Aggies will face the winner of Thursday’s match-up between fifth seeded South Carolina (23-6, 11-5) and 13th-seeded Alabama (13-17, 2-14).
Alabama defeated Mississippi State in the opening round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday evening. Alabama and South Carolina will meet up on Thursday afternoon for the right to play A&M in the quarterfinals. A&M faced each of the potential opponents this season going 2-0 in the process.
The Aggies opened conference play with a 80-57 win over Alabama at Reed Arena with a dominating interior presence from junior Kelsey Bone and senior Kristi Bellock, each recorded a double-double. Bone led the Aggies with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Bellock added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Adrienne Pratcher pitched in 12 points and six assists. The bench chipped in 32 points with 13 from
freshman Peyton Little and 12 from junior Karla Gilbert.
In possibly the most exciting game for the Aggies this season, A&M topped South Carolina on a last second jumper from Bone to defeat the Gamecocks 50-48 in Columbia. The maligned superstar faced an abrasive crowd to lead the Aggies with yet another double-double (13 points & 15 rebounds) and led the team with four assists. Pratcher and freshman Courtney Walker added 10 points in the win. The Aggies proved to be the defensive stalwart in the outing holding USC to just 28.% shooting including 14.3% from the 3-point line. A&M also set a season high with nine blocks on the night against the Gamecocks, Bellock and Gilbert led the team with three blocks apiece.
A&M has played for the title in each of the previous five Big 12 Tournaments, having won two title along the way. In each of the past eight conference tournaments the Aggies have had the benefit of a bye through the first round of the tournament, courtesy of their finish in the regular season. The Aggies were 3-11 (.214) over the first 14 Big 12 tournament games, but have flipped the script going 12-3 (.800) over the past five years at the championship, the best winning percentage over the past five tournaments. The Aggies finished with a 15-14 (.517) record in 16 Big 12 Tournaments.
Although this will be A&M’s first appearance at the SEC Tournament, Blair is no stranger to the scene. Blair took Arkansas to the tournament in his 10 seasons in Fayetteville, going 8-10 with at least one win in six different seasons. Blair was 5-3 over his final three appearances at the SEC tournament.
In the past 15 conference tournaments the Aggies have been the fourth seed three times (2008, 2009, 2010). The maroon and white have enjoyed success from that spot going 8-1 as the fourth seed, winning the title in 2008 and 2010 from that position. Of the 15 tournament wins the past 15 years eight of them were from the four hole, the next most was three as a three seed. In each of the three tournaments the Aggies were the fourth seed they advanced to the championship game.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net with Dave Neal on play-by-play and Nell Fortner providing commentary, fans are encouraged to check their cable/satellite provider for availability in their area or check the ‘Aggies on TV’ link on aggieathletics.com. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest in Texas.
No. 19 Texas A&M Travels to First SEC Tournament
Aggie Women’s Basketball Game #31
Texas A&M (21-9; 11-5 SEC) vs. South Carolina (23-6, 11-5 SEC) or Alabama (13-17, 2-14)
March 8, 2013 · 1:30 p.m. (CT)
Gwinnett Center (13,000)
TV: Fox Sports Net
Dave Neal, Play-by-Play
Nell Fortner, Commentary
RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network
Mike Wright, Play-by-Play
Steve Miller, Commentary
Local: KZNE-AM 1150 (College Station/Bryan)