Blair wary of home slip-up as Georgia visits
A&M carries 11-1 home record into SEC matchup
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 00:02
The No. 14 Texas A&M women’s basketball team will face the Georgia Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Thursday in Reed Arena. Earlier this season the Aggies prevailed 58-44 on the road in Athens, Ga.
A&M (18-6, 8-2 SEC) has posted an 11-1 home record this season. Hoping to make a run at the regular season SEC title, they trail No. 8 Tennessee and No. 5 South Carolina in the standings.
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said he knows his team must be prepared to battle from here on out, despite how any of the remaining matchups look on paper.
“Never, never look past your home games,” Blair said. “You cannot afford it and we’ve already lost one.”
The Aggies’ last outing came against the LSU Tigers, where four players put up double-digit scoring performances, led by sophomore guard Courtney Walker’s 22 points on 10-20 shooting.
Sophomore point guard Jordan Jones led the Aggies with nine assists against the Tigers, and looks to continue her development at the point guard position under the tutelage of Sydney Colson — starting point guard on the Aggie 2011 National Championship team — who recently returned to A&M as a graduate assistant.
“I’m much more comfortable, especially with having Sydney Colson on the sideline talking to us and I feel like the relationship that me and Coach Blair are forming is very good,” Jones said. “I’ve just settled down and started to come into my role a little bit more as the captain and point guard of this team.”
Georgia (16-7, 4-6 SEC) comes off an 84-63 win at home against the Ole Miss Rebels. The win marked the team’s highest point total in SEC play this season.
The Bulldogs’ sophomore forward Shacobia Barbee leads the SEC in steals per game, averaging 2.9 in addition to 12.5 points per game.
“[Barbee’s] just got hands out there like tentacles,” Blair said. “She’s always slapping the ball loose.”
Blair and Georgia head coach Andy Landers are familiar opponents. Dating back to Blair’s 10-year head coaching stint at Arkansas, Landers held a decisive 13-1 advantage over Blair before his arrival at A&M. Blair has since flipped the script, going 3-0 over Landers as the head coach of the Aggies, including a win over the Bulldogs in the 2011 NCAA regional semifinals during A&M’s National Championship run.
“He knows what I do and I know what he does,” Blair said. “I love playing the Andy Landers’ or playing the LSUs or playing the Kentuckys. Those are just great matchups for me personally.”
Following Thursday’s game, the Aggies will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to battle the Alabama Crimson Tide Sunday at noon in the first leg of a two-game road trip.