Aggies face Minnesota for spot in Sweet 16

The ninth-ranked and second-seeded Texas A&M women's basketball team (26-7) face 10th-seeded Minnesota (20-11) in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship on Tuesday night at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Indiana. The Aggies are led by senior All-Amercia candidates Takia Starks and Danielle Gant (left).

The ninth-ranked and second-seeded Texas A&M women's basketball team (26-7) opened their 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship campaign with an 80-45 first round rout of 15th-seeded Evansville on Sunday afternoon.

The Aggie woman continue on their mission to go further than its program-best NCAA Elite Eight run a year ago.

The Aggies' second obstacle towards their ultimate goal will be 10th-seeded Minnesota (20-11) who they will face in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship on Tuesday night at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind.

Minnesota is making its eighth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and turned in its fifth 20-win season under head coach Pam Borton with a 79-71 victory over seventh-seeded Notre Dame in the NCAA First Round on March 22.

Junior guard Brittany Fox (5-10) is averaging a team-leading 13.2 points a game, earning Second Team All-Big Ten Conference honors for the Golden Gophers. McCoy and snior guard Emily Fox (5-9) combine for 251 of the team's 405 assists on the season. Junior forward Ashley Ellis-Milan (6-2) is averaging 11.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.

Minnesota compiled an 11-7 mark against league opponents to finish tied for fifth in the final Big Ten Conference standings.

The Aggies went 2-0 against Big Ten Conference opponents en route to posting a program-best 12-1 mark in non-conference play this season. A&M beat Michigan (59-56) on Nov. 20 in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Penn State (61-57) in the first round of the Timeout 4 HIV/AIDS Tournament hosted by Pepperdine on Nov. 28 in Malibu, Calif.

Aggie head coach Gary Blair expects a very physical game with Minnesota, saying "You know that we will have trouble ... because of their physical nature of play. The kids in the Midwest are built different then the kids we have and they like to establish their physical presence with their style of play ... The Big Ten style of basketball is so much different than any other style of basketball in the country."

The Aggies are led by senior All-Amercia candidates guard Takia Starks and forward Danielle Gant. Starks is averaging 15.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Aggies while Gant chips in 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.

Tipoff between the Aggies and Golden Gophers is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2. Texas A&M will play before a national audience on ESPN2 for the 13th time in program history and are 9-3 all-time on the deuce and an undefeated 2-0 this season.

This will be the second year in a row in which A&M will take on the No. 10 seed next to last year's 63-39 win over Hartford in the second round of the Oklahoma City Regional.

A trip to the Sweet 16 is on the line for both teams which would catapult them into the Trenton Regional to be held on March 29 and 31 at Sovereign Back Arena in New Jersey.

Should A&M advance past the second round, it would mark its second-straight trip to the Sweet 16 and third overall in program history next to its 1994 and 2008 NCAA Tournament berths.

A&M has won eight of its last 10 games with one of the nation's top defenses forcing opponents to 21.8 turnovers per game and a 36.5 shooting percentage from the field.

 


Aggie Digest Top Stories