SEC, A&M announce women's basketball schedule
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 00:08
Texas A&M and the Southeastern Conference released on Tuesday the 2013-14 women’s basketball schedule, which will officially kick off for the Aggies on Nov. 11 with a road match against North Texas.
After a successful 2012-13 season — which included bringing home the University’s first-ever SEC Championship — the women’s basketball team looks to replicate and build on last year’s results.
A&M head coach Gary Blair said that both the non-conference and league sections of the schedule for the Aggies are highlighted with tough opponents, with even old-time rival University of Texas making an appearance.
“We are very excited in the makeup of our schedule and the challenges that it will present to us in developing our team,” Blair said. “This season we will be playing 12 games against teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, seven games against teams that participated in the WNIT and three former National Champions in Texas, Louisiana Tech and Tennessee.”
Texas A&M and UT will face off in the Paradise Jam Tournament on Nov. 29 in the Virgin Islands in what will be the first scheduled match between the two age-old rivals since the Aggies realigned to the Southeastern Conference last July.
Blair said the renewal of the rivalry has the potential to open the door for other traditional A&M opponents to schedule the Aggies in future seasons.
“Hopefully, [the Texas game] will do a good job of breaking the ice so that a lot of [programs] that would like to play each other can do so,” Blair said. “Texas and A&M, Baylor and A&M, A&M and Texas Tech: those are a lot of teams that we grow up playing kids on the same AAU teams and we would like to continue on with those same series. However, there has to be mutual people wanting to play those games.”
As for the remainder of the non-conference schedule, A&M hosts big-time Division I foes Washington and San Diego State and will travel to Penn state, which Blair calls one of the Aggies’ toughest road matches.
Blair said the Aggies would face their strongest opponents when they reach the conference slate, including many of last year’s nationally ranked squads who visit Reed Arena throughout the early part of the spring semester.
“Our SEC schedule presents the most challenging home conference schedule in A&M basketball history,” Blair said. “Nationally ranked teams from last year, including Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia, will all come to Reed Arena. All these are top 25 pre-season-ranked teams.”
But Blair also said A&M’s tough scheduling throughout the season comes with an added bonus — experience against teams destined to make the NCAA tournament.
“Our [ratings percentage index] in the last five years has been in the Top 10 in the country,” Blair said. “We try to play the hardest schedule we can do in addition to our league schedule, which is going to be loaded particularly in conference play because we’re playing five out of the top six teams at home this year, so we’re prepared for the tournament.”