COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The 14th-ranked and No. 3 seed Texas A&M women's basketball team returns to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five years and faces fifth-ranked and No. 2 seed Maryland on Sunday, March 25 in the regional semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Division I Championship. Tipoff between the Aggies and the Terrapins is set for 11 a.m. (CT) and is televised live from PNC Arena on ESPN. The Aggies head to the Raleigh Regional in search of their second straight and third overall trip to the Elite Eight.
#3 TEXAS A&M (24-10) vs. #2 MARYLAND (30-4)
Sunday, March 25, 2012 • 11 a.m. (CT)
PNC Arena (19,722)
Radio: Texas A&M Sports Network (KZNE 1150 AM)
Series History: First Meeting
Internet: : ESPN3.com, Free Live Statistics and Live Audio at AggieAthletics.com
Record: 24-10 (11-7 Big 12)
Ranking: #22 (AP), #14 (Coaches)
Last Result: W, 61-59 vs. Arkansas on March 19, 2012
Up Next: If win, NCAA Elite Eight on March 27, 2012
Head Coach: Gary Blair, Ninth Season
Texas A&M Record: 212-89 (.704)
Career Record: 620-252 (.711) 27th Season
Record: 30-4 (12-4 ACC)
Ranking: RV (AP), RV (Coaches)
Last Result: W, 72-68 vs. Louisville on March 19, 2012
Up Next: If win, NCAA Elite Eight on March 27, 2012
Head Coach: Brenda Frese, 10th Season
Maryland Record: 251-85 (.747)
Career Record: 308-115 (.728) 13th Season
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP ON TV
ESPN networks will air all 63 games of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Play-by-play announcer Pam Ward, analyst Rebecca Lobo and sideline reporter Allison Williams will call first-and second-round action live from PNC Arena on ESPN and ESPN3.
Sunday, Texas A&M will appear on the tube before a national television audience for the 17th time this season.
The Aggies are 10-6 on national TV this season.
AGGIES ON THE RADIO
All Texas A&M women's basketball games can be heard via a radio broadcast on the Texas A&M Sports Network. Play-by-play announcer Mike Wright will call the action live from PNC Arena alongside color analyst Steve Miller on KZNE 1150 AM. A live audio feed will also be available on RadioAggieland.com.
AGGIES IN NCAA TOURNAMENT PLAY
The Aggies are 17-7 all-time in postseason play and are making their ninth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance next to 1994, 1996, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
As the defending national champions, Texas A&M is the only program in the nation to boast eight straight NCAA Tournament wins.
A&M is 2-2 all-time in the regional semifinal of the tournament and is 1-0 all-time against a No. 2 seed, as it defeated No. 2 seed Notre Dame for the national championship last year.
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair has now led 18 of his all-time squads at Stephen F. Austin (6-6), Arkansas (8-5) and A&M (15-5) combined to the Big Dance with a 29-16 career record in NCAA Tournament games.
THE SWEET 16 FIELD
A&M is one of just seven teams in this year's NCAA Sweet 16 field to have reached the regional semifinals in at least four of the last five years along with top seeds Connecticut (each of the last 5 years), Stanford (5) and Baylor (4), and No. 2 seeds Tennessee (4), Duke (4) and Notre Dame (4).
A&M is one of only two three seeds left in the tournament next to St. John's.
The Aggies are the only No. 3 seed in the field that has appeared in four of the last five Sweet 16's.
The Big 12 Conference is represented by three schools (A&M, Baylor and Kansas).
TEXAS A&M ALL-TIME NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES (9)
2012 - TBA (No. 3 seed)
2011 - NCAA National Champion (No. 2 seed)
2010 - NCAA Second Round (No. 2 seed)*
2009 - NCAA Sweet 16 (No. 2 seed)
2008 - NCAA Elite Eight (No. 2 seed)*
2007 - NCAA Second Round (No. 4 seed)
2006 - NCAA First Round (No. 6 seed)
1996 - NCAA First Round (No. 7 seed)*
1994 - NCAA Sweet 16 (No. 13 seed)
* NCAA Automatic Bid
AGGIE NCAA TOURNAMENT TIDBITS
Texas A&M is making a school-record seventh straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to the streak, the Aggies had never played in consecutive NCAA Tournaments and had not been a part of March Madness since 1996.
A&M is one of only 13 Division I women's basketball programs to make the NCAA Tournament field of 64 seven years in a row next to Connecticut, Tennessee, Georgia, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, Ohio State, Duke, Notre Dame, DePaul, Oklahoma, and Baylor.
The Aggies are one of only four elite programs to be selected as a No. 4 seed or higher for six straight years. The other three teams include Connecticut, Stanford and Duke.
For the past four years, A&M received four straight No. 2 seeds (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and is the only program in NCAA history to do so. Four other programs have earned just three consecutive No. 2 seeds including Texas Tech (1993, 1994, 1995) Purdue (2002, 2003, 2004), Stanford (2007, 2008, 2009) and Duke (2010, 2011, 2012).
A&M received its first-ever No. 3 seed on this year's Selection Monday.
Texas A&M was the only site in the state of Texas to host the first and second rounds of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. The Aggies hosted for the first time since the 1994 NCAA Tournament, when the first round was held in G. Rollie White Coliseum.
Texas A&M will also host first and second round games next season and is one of just four institutions in the nation to host those rounds in both 2012 and 2013. A&M will be one of three Southeastern Conference schools to host next year.
Blair is one of only two Division I women's basketball coaches next to C. Vivian Stringer (Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers) to take three teams to the NCAA Sweet 16.
In addition, Blair is one of only three all-time NCAA DI women's basketball coaches to lead two different teams to the NCAA Women's Final Four next to Marianne Stanley (Old Dominion and Stanford) and Stringer.
Historically, only two No. 3 seeds have gone on to win a national championship title including Tennessee in 1997 and North Carolina in 1994.
A&M's roster has a combined 95 games of NCAA Tournament experience, but a majority of that has come off the bench or late in secured wins. The Aggies total 34 starts in NCAA play, with seniors Carter, Elonu and White with 10 each. White has the most career NCAA minutes (368), while Carter and Elonu are each over 295.
The University of Maryland is located in College Park, Md., has an enrollment of 37,641 and was founded in 1856.
The Terrapins return nine letterwinners and four starters from the 2010-11 squad that finished 24-8 overall and 9-5 (4th) in the ACC.
Maryland received an automatic bid to the Big Dance after winning the ACC Tournament title. The Terps are amidst their 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament after bowing out in the second round last year.
The Terrapins enter Sunday's regional semifinal on a nine-game winning streak.
Maryland is led by ACC Player of the Year and 6-foot-2 sophomore Alyssa Thomas. She averages 17.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Three other players also average double figures in six-foot guard Laurin Mincy (13.2 ppg), 6-foot-3 forward Tianna Hawkins (12.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and 6-foot-4 center Lynetta Kizer (11.1 ppg).
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS
Alexia Standish, G, 5-8, Fr.
5.4 ppg, 1.9 apg
Sydney Carter, G, 5-6, Sr.
10.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Tyra White, G, 6-0, Sr.
13.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Adaora Elonu, F, 6-1, Sr.
11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Kelsey Bone, C, 6-4, Jr.
12.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Anjale Barrett, G, 5-10, RS-Sr.
6.5 ppg, 5.1 apg
Laurin Mincy, G, 6-0, So.
13.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Alyssa Thomas, F, 6-2, So.
17.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg
Tianna Hawkins, F, 6-3, Jr.
12.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg
Alicia DeVaughn, C, 6-4, So.
6.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Points Per Game
Rebounds Per Game
Field Goal Percentage
Field Goal% Defense
Free Throw Percentage
Turnovers Per Game
Assists Per Game
Blocks Per Game
Steals Per Game
INSIDE THE SERIES
Sunday marks the first meeting all-time between Texas A&M and Maryland.
Head coach Gary Blair has faced Maryland just once in his 27-year coaching career - in 1989 as a first-year head coach at Stephen F. Austin. SFA fell to Maryland in the NCAA Regional Semifinals, 54-89.
Should the Aggies win their NCAA Regional Semifinal game they will continue on through the Raleigh Regional and meet either top-seeded Notre Dame or fifth-seeded St. Bonaventure in the regional final on Tuesday, March 27.
Texas A&M seniors Sydney Carter, Adaora Elonu and Tyra White have each played in 13 career NCAA Tournament games since their freshman campaign in 2008-09. They are three of only 11 Aggies to have competed in every game of four-straight NCAA Tournaments next to former standouts Morenike Atunrase (2005-08), Patrice Reado (2005-08), A'Quonesia Franklin (2005-08), Takia Starks (2006-09), Danielle Gant (2006-09), La Toya Micheaux (2006-09), Damitria Buchanan (2007-10) and Sydney Colson (2008-11).
The Aggies turned in their seventh consecutive 20-win season and their seventh straight 10-win season in Big 12 Conference play under head coach Gary Blair.
The Aggies limited Iowa State (33) and Kansas State (36) to their lowest point totals of the season and are the only team in the Big 12 to have held two opponents to less than 40 points in conference play this year.
Texas A&M finished the regular season tied for second place in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma.
The Aggies lead the Big 12 by forcing their opponents into an average of 20.1 turnovers per game, with a turnover margin of +5.2. The team has a scoring margin of +8.2 and averages 15.9 offensive rebounds per game which are both second-best in the Big 12.
As of March 22, the Aggies had the 18th-best turnover margin in the nation, while Kelsey Bone held the 20th-best field goal percentage in the country at 52.4.
Big 12 All-Freshman team member, Alexia Standish, leads the Big 12 with a 42.9 (39-91) 3-point field goal percentage while Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Bone is third-best in the conference with her 52.4 field goal percentage.
A&M IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Texas A&M boasted the second-best average attendance (6,296) as one of 16 hosts of the NCAA First and Second Rounds next to only Notre Dame (6,648).
After the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament let's see how the Aggies stack up against the field of 64: Scoring Defense - 5th (53.0), 3-point FG PCT - 6th (.429), FG PCT Defense - 7th (.336), Scoring Margin - 10th (+12.0), Blocked Shots - 10th (5.0).
AGGIES IN THE POSTSEASON
Since ending the regular season, each of A&M's starters has established themselves as a scoring threat in the Aggies' offensive scheme. Standish, Elonu, Bone, White and Carter have each averaged double figures over the last five games with Standish nearly doubling her season average at 11.6 points per game.
What's more is that in each of the last five contests, a different starter has stepped up to lead A&M in scoring.
#-Big 12 Tournament
A&M'S LAST EIGHT
Over the last eight games, Texas A&M has shot well above its season average shooting over 45 percent from the floor and nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc. The Aggies are led by Karla Gilbert's 70 percent (16-23), while Standish has been lighting it up from 3-point range shooting over 61 percent (19-31).
Adrienne Pratcher dished out an NCAA Tournament-best six assists in the second round to pass over 100 assists (102) in a season for the first time in her career.
Sydney Carter is approaching the 100-assist mark as well. With 98 assists, Carter is second on the team and is looking for her third consecutive 100-assist season.
STANDISH STARTING FRESH
Alexia Standish is only the fifth true freshman to start at point guard in Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair's nine seasons in Aggieland and she has the second-most starts of that impressive group.
FROM THE SIDELINES
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair is in his 27th overall season as a Division I head coach. He currently ranks in the top 15 in career victories (620) and in the top 25 by winning percentage (.711) among active Division I coaches in the NCAA women's basketball record books.
Blair is one of only four active Division I coaches (six all-time) to lead three different programs to the NCAA Tournament next to Stringer of Rutgers, Joanne P. McCallie of Duke and Jim Foster of Ohio State. Blair previously coached at Stephen F. Austin (1985-93) and Arkansas (1993-03).
WHITE NAMED ALL-REGION
Tyra White was among 52 all-region selections chosen by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The selection committee will review these candidates and trim the list to 40 finalists, all of whom will be in the running for selection to the 10-member WBCA Division I Coaches' All-America Team. White earned the honor for the second straight season and was a WBCA All-America Team Honorable Mention last season.
NCAA SECOND ROUND RECAP
TEXAS A&M 61, ARKANSAS 59
For the 17th time this season, Texas A&M used the starting lineup of Alexia Standish, Sydney Carter, Tyra White, Adaora Elonu and Kelsey Bone...The Aggies are 12-5 with this starting lineup.
Texas A&M improves to 3-20 in the all-time series with Arkansas.
A&M is 5-2 all-time in the NCAA Second Round and is 2-1 all-time against a No. 6 seed.
The Aggies are 20-2 when leading at the half.
Texas A&M shot a season-best 85 percent from the foul stripe (when attempting 20 more) as they made 17 of 20 attempts.
In the first half, A&M shot 46 percent from the floor and held Albany to just 32 percent.
Elonu scored in double figures for the 22nd time this season and her 23 points were also an NCAA Tournament best.
Skylar Collins added an NCAA Tournament career-best 8 points and three rebounds in just 8 minutes of action.
Elonu set an A&M record for most games played in a career with her 140th contest against Arkansas.
Blair heads to his ninth Sweet Sixteen appearance and 29th NCAA Tournament game in his head coaching career.
IN THE RECORD BOOK
Against Albany on March 17, White moved into A&M's top 10 list for career rebounds and currently has 591. She is 26 rebounds away from moving into ninth place.
Against Albany on March 17, White moved into fourth place on A&M's career field goals list and currently has 598 field goals made. She is 29 field goals away from moving into third place.
Against Missouri on Feb. 14, White moved into seventh place on A&M's career points list and currently has 1,475 career points. She is 31 points away from moving into sixth place.
Against Arkansas on March 19, Elonu (86 career blocks, including an individual season-best 37 this season) moved into eighth place in career block shots. She is four blocks away from moving into the seventh place on the all-time list.
Against Albany on March 17, Elonu moved into sixth place on the career rebounds list and currently has 723 boards.
Against Oklahoma State on Jan. 24, Elonu became 25th A&M player to pass over 1,000 career points and currently has 1,190.
Against Albany on March 17, Carter moved into ninth place on the career steals list and currently has 204 steals. She is five steals away from moving into eight place.
Against Kansas on Jan. 21, Carter became the 24th A&M player to pass over 1,000 career points and currently has 1,163.
Carter holds the best career free-throw percentage in program history (81.6).
FIVE AGGIES EARN BIG 12 ACCOLADES
Kelsey Bone was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Tyra White was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team. Sydney Carter was voted to the All-Big 12 Second Team and the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, and both Bone and Adaora Elonu were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Alexia Standish earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
Texas A&M finished its 2011-12 regular season averaging a program-best 6,592 fans at each home game, which ranked fifth-best in the Big 12 and 12th-best in the country in attendance. A&M has been in the top 25 in national attendance for the past four seasons.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
All but four of A&M's losses have come by just 9 points or less. Three of the four losses were against the No.1 (Baylor twice) and the No. 2 (UConn) teams in the nation.
All but four of the Aggies' wins (USC, Iowa State, at Missouri and Arkansas) have come by 10 points or more.
In three of the four wins decided by less than 10 points, Sydney Carter provided the game-winning heroics versus USC (3-pointer), Iowa State (pair of free throws) and Arkansas (pair of free throws).
In all but three of A&M's losses (at Kansas State, Baylor and at Texas), the team has shot less than 40 percent.
In all but three of A&M's wins (McNeese State, at Iowa State and Oklahoma State), the team has shot 40 percent or better.
The Aggies have trailed at the half 11 times this season, seven of which ended in a loss and four of which A&M won.
In all but two of A&M's wins (at Kansas and Arkansas), the team has outscored its opponent in the second half.
In all but one of A&M's losses (at Oklahoma State), the team has been outscored in the second half.
Here is a comparison of key statistics in A&M's wins vs. losses:
Points per game
Opp points per game
Opp FG Percentage
Turnovers per game
Steals per game