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A&M visits Mississippi State for conference road clash

Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 22:01

W BKB @ MISS ST photo 1

Roger Zhang -- THE BATTALION

Freshman Courtney Walker elevates to the basket.


Coming off a 64-46 upset of No. 12 Georgia, the A&M women’s basketball team looks to maintain its momentum as it takes on the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (8-10, 0-5 SEC) Thursday.

The Aggies (14-5, 4-1 SEC) moved up four spots from No. 20 to No. 16 after their victory in Athens, Ga. Sunday.

This matchup of SEC West competitors features Texas A&M coach Gary Blair going up against former assistant coach Vic Schaefer. Schaefer served under Blair for over 15 years before accepting the head coaching job at Mississippi State last March.

“[Schaefer] is going to know every call that I make,” Coach Blair. “We’ll have a few things that he hasn’t seen before but I’m sure he’ll have some things we haven’t seen before either.”

The Aggies are looking to push their win streak to three games while the Bulldogs are hoping to end a five-game losing streak. To do so, the Bulldogs will likely need to generate more offense. Going into Thursday’s game, Mississippi State is averaging 57.6 points per game compared to the 71.9 points A&M is producing each game.

Junior center Kelsey Bone will look to rebound for the Aggies after she saw her streak of five straight games with a double-double come to an end against Georgia. Bone, currently first in the SEC in points (17.9 per game) and second in rebounds (10.2 per game), will try to avoid getting into foul trouble again against the last-place Lady Bulldogs.

“Bone shows the kind of dominance Danielle Adams showed two years ago,” junior recreational parks and tourism sciences major Colton Croley said. “As long as she continues to stay healthy and out of foul trouble, [Blair’s] team will be a serious threat come tournament time.”

Texas A&M will also look to true freshmen Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones for major contributions in their upcoming matchup. Walker led the Aggies with 12 points last game and Jones has been a vital part of the team’s tempo coming off the bench. With a total of seven freshmen on the roster, the younger players have had to contribute in big ways in order for the Aggies to maintain third place in the SEC.

“Basketball is basketball,” Jones said. “Whether you are a freshman, sophomore, senior, or junior. If the coach is going to put you in the game, you are going to have to perform.”

Aside from their offensive production, the Aggies will look to continue to assert their dominance on the defensive end. In the past seven games, the Aggies have not allowed any opponent to score over 70 points and have allowed only one to score over 60 — a 65-62 loss to No. 5 Kentucky on Jan. 10.

During their five-game losing streak, Mississippi State is allowing an average of 75 points per game and have allowed over 90 points twice.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday night. The Aggies will look to pick up their fifth conference win while the Lady Bulldogs are still seeking their first win in SEC play.

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