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5 TEXAS A&M

Nov. 10, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014

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Nov. 10, 2014

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  • TODAY'S DEFENSES—HELLO, 7--1 CARDINALS!—APPLY PRESSURE BY THREATENING THE VITAL LANES BETWEEN THE CENTER AND THE GUARDS. AND ONCE A TEAM HAS SLOTTED A PAIR OF BLITZERS IN THOSE "A" GAPS? THAT'S WHEN THE FUN BEGINS

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5 TEXAS A&M

COACH GARY BLAIR (12TH SEASON) 2013--14 RECORD 27--9 SEC 13--3

Short Game Strategy

This is an article from the Nov. 10, 2014 issue Original Layout

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.

Lineup

With 2013--14 Stats

View this article in the original magazine

PPGRPGAPG
PGCourtney Walker* 5'8" Jr.15.64.22.5
SGJordan Jones* 5'6" Jr.7.17.57.3
G-FCourtney Williams* 6'1" Jr.13.95.52.1
PFAchiri Ade* 6'1" Sr.6.96.80.4
CRachel Mitchell 6'7" Jr.1.22.00.0
GTori Scott 5'10" Sr.6.92.60.7

*Returning starter

Team leader

PHOTOJASON GETZ/AP (WALKER)

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).