Short Game Strategy
It has been four seasons since the Aggies won a national championship, but they're still reaping the recruiting benefits. "I've never had this deep of a team at the guard position," says coach Gary Blair. "I can roll any of them out there."
Led by a pair of Courtneys—Walker and Williams, both juniors—Texas A&M will put four guards on the floor at times and apply more pressure defensively than ever. The 5'8" Walker operates mostly inside the arc, using her quickness and strength to get taller defenders off balance, though she's trying to add a three-point shot to her arsenal. As a freshman, Walker took just two treys, making one; last year she made 12 of 33. The 6'1" Williams can play four positions but was even worse than Walker from long range, hitting just 19 of 69 shots (27.5%). "Everybody is afraid of our guards slashing and attacking," Blair says, "but it's our job to make defenders play us honest instead of sagging back."
The post is more of a work in progress, but at least A&M is long on options. Blair says each member of his "three-headed monster"—6'3" sophomore Jada Terry, 6'5" freshman Khaalia Hillsman and 6'7" junior Rachel Mitchell—will shoot 55% from the field. "We'll go with the hot hand," Blair says.
With 2013--14 Stats
|PG||Courtney Walker* 5'8" Jr.||15.6||4.2||2.5|
|SG||Jordan Jones* 5'6" Jr.||7.1||7.5||7.3|
|G-F||Courtney Williams* 6'1" Jr.||13.9||5.5||2.1|
|PF||Achiri Ade* 6'1" Sr.||6.9||6.8||0.4|
|C||Rachel Mitchell 6'7" Jr.||1.2||2.0||0.0|
|G||Tori Scott 5'10" Sr.||6.9||2.6||0.7|
TELLING NUMBER 261
Assists by Jordan Jones last season (7.3 per game), which led the SEC, ranked third nationally and set an Aggies record. She ranked second in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.35) and third in steals per game (2.3).