Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quick Holiday Note

Everyone, with all of Texas A&M's teams on a much-needed break, we will follow suit and be on haitus until the new year. I hope you have a fun, memorable and SAFE holiday season, and here's to a great 2009!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Wishes, Aggie-Style

While my list is full of things like a new tape recorder, some pens that work for more than three days and an intern to type up quotes from all my interviews, those involved with Aggie athletics have some more interesting items on their Christmas wish lists. 12th Man On Campus set off recently to discover what a few of A&M's coaches and athletes are hoping Santa delivers to them this Thursday. --True

Coach Gary Blair, women’s basketball – I want to have a sellout here without having to give away the product. Our crowds have gotten better with each game this year, and I just hope to keep drawing. Some day, before I ever leave here, I’d like to see a sell out of this place. I also hope Bob Gates is making the right decisions (overseas) to get our troops home as soon as possible.

Kristen Heiss, swimming – A backpacking backpack and steak knives…haha interesting combo, I know!

Coach Tana McKay, equestrian – We need a second barn; that is definitely on our list!

Josh Carter, men’s basketball – I just want to win some games.

Ashley Snoey, equestrian – Spur straps or horse treats

Coach Mark Turgeon, men’s basketball – I am looking forward to a few days off and being around the family. I don’t feel like I’ve been around them very much lately. Winning a few games leading up to it will help the mood around the house.

Cailey Dreyer, equestrian – I would love some extra time with my trainer from Santa, so I am prepared for the second half of the competition season, which starts back in January!

Sarah Woods, swimming – A puppy that hides from the landlords

(Sarah also made wishes for a couple of her teammates…)

- Julia Wilkinson would like a new shoulder.

- Kristen Heiss would like Sarah and Julia to empty the dishwasher more.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend By The Numbers

73 – A&M student-athletes who graduated this semester. Among some of the notables are: Dan Campbell (football), Melissa Garey (soccer), Khalid Ballouli (baseball), Amanda Scarborough (softball), Travis Schneider (football), Misi Tupe (football) and Clora Williams (track and field).

5,395 – Season-high crowd inside Reed Arena for the A&M-TCU women’s basketball game on Sunday. The previous high was 3,602 for the Texas State game on Dec. 13, and the big crowd this weekend went home happy after the No. 3 Aggies scored a 14-point win.

10 – Consecutive wins for the women’s team to begin the season, the best start in school history. It’s also the best start ever for coach Gary Blair, whose previous best was a 9-0 mark with Stephen F. Austin in 1989-90.

14 – Rebounds for La Toya Micheaux against TCU, enough to move her into sixth place on the all-time Aggie list. Micheaux has accumulated 658 career rebounds.

6 – Consecutive games in double figures for Josh Carter. Carter scored 19 points during the Aggies’ win over LSU on Saturday.

50 percent – A&M’s shooting percentage against the Tigers, marking the third time the Aggies have made at least half of their shots.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Avoiding The Upset

It’s already happened several times this season, and it’s bound to take place several more times before the final buzzer sounds in March. Whether it be a buzzer-beating miracle or just a good old fashioned whippin’, college basketball inevitably turns out several unexpected upsets every year.

For coaches, making sure their team doesn’t fall prey to the underdog is often a delicate balance, particularly during the pre-conference schedule.

For one, it’s difficult for players to ‘get up’ for game after game, particularly when the opponent features a directional-type name. Second (and unlike the normal Wednesday-Saturday Big 12 schedule), games center around preseason tournaments and random clusters where teams can play three or four games in a week (see the A&M men’s Saturday-Monday-Wednesday-Saturday schedule this week).

Already this season on the men’s side, we’ve seen Western Kentucky over No. 3 Louisville, Cleveland State over No. 11 Syracuse, Arizona over No. 4 Gonzaga, Michigan over No. 4 UCLA and Maryland over No. 5 Michigan State, just to name a few.

In the Aggies’ case, a slip-up to Tulsa at the South Padre Invitational is the team’s only blemish, but a few games this week were surprisingly tight coming down the stretch. Wins against Florida A&M and SMU this week have finished as 10 point victories, but both were one possession games late in the second half.

Throw studying for finals into the mix, and December can be a dicey proposition for hoops teams everywhere.

“That’s a tough stretch for you to keep your kids (focused),” said A&M coach Mark Turgeon. “Seven or eight days off in between games (during finals), you see teams that are rusty and don’t play quite as well. Then, we’re cramming four games in eight days, and it’s hard to get up for every game.”

“And there are a lot of really good players out there. There are those elite teams that have the best players, and then the rest of us. There’s a fine line between our talent. You have to be ready to play every night.”

While parity hasn’t taken hold on the women’s side as much as it has for the men, that hasn’t stopped a couple big-time upsets from stealing the headlines so far this year. We’re nowhere near March, but the madness has clearly already begun.

Upsets thus far include TCU over No. 5 Maryland, TCU over No. 3 California, Arkansas-Little Rock over No. 19 Oklahoma State and California-Riverside over No. 16 Vanderbilt.

Those scores should send a shiver down spines across College Station. A&M hosts TCU this Sunday at Reed Arena, when the Aggies will try to avoid becoming TCU’s third top-five casualty.

Thus far, Gary Blair’s squad has taken care of business, picking up road wins at Michigan, Arizona, Pepperdine and Stephen F. Austin. In home games against Mercer, SMU and Texas State, A&M has cruised to an average victory of almost 40 points per game. In those possible upset-type contests, the Aggies have jumped out early and carried a hefty double-digit lead throughout the second half.

“Don’t put yourself in a position to allow a 60-footer or a referees call at the end of the game (to sink you),” Blair said. “You better take care of your home court. Sometimes, you give credit to your opponent. They didn’t just get off the truck; they can be pretty good.”

That’s certainly what Blair is expecting when TCU visits this weekend. A&M players said Tuesday they had already received a scouting report on the Horned Frogs, something that usually doesn’t happen until the day before a game. A&M and TCU have played in each of the last two seasons, with TCU claiming a win in the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and the Aggies returning the favor in Fort Worth last year.

“This will only be our second game against a top 25 team,” Blair said. “It will be good for us.”

That is, as long as A&M doesn’t become another statistic in the early-season upset parade.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Knock On Wood, Aggies Seeing Success At Free Throw Line

Aggie basketball coach Mark Turgeon did his best to avoid too much discussion Tuesday about his team’s recent prowess from the free-throw line. That’s why, after being peppered by reporters with questions about his team’s recent success, he eventually offered a quick quip to change the topic.

“I don’t want to jinx my guys here,” said Turgeon, “with you all writing too much about them.”

His final comment was made only half-jokingly, but it served its purpose of moving the conversation along to a different topic. And for good reason, as the Texas A&M men’s basketball team is on quite a roll from the charity stripe.

Aggie players have shot better than 80 percent in each of the last four games—all wins—and have ascended into one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the Big 12. Monday night’s 20-for-20 performance against Florida A&M kept the contests a two possession game down the stretch and eventually helped the Aggies (8-1) avoid the upset, 67-57.

Free throws have played an important role in the team’s recent winning streak in which the margins of victory have been six, one, eight (in overtime) and 10. While the eight-point margin against Alabama might look comfortable, the Aggies had to overcome a five-point deficit with less than 20 seconds to play to force the extra session.

Even then, it was a missed free throw by Alabama’s Mikhail Torrance with 12 seconds remaining that allowed B. J. Holmes’ long 3-pointer to send the game to an extra period. Turgeon could empathize with Tide coach Mark Gottfried, as Turgeon’s squad often struggled from the line last season.

“I’ve never gone through anything like we did last year,” said Turgeon of last year’s team that finished last in the conference in free-throw percentage. “That was pretty tough for me because we worked so hard on it.”

This year, it appears to be carrying over in games.

Except for the Tulsa loss in which the Aggies shot just 57.1 percent, the Aggies in all other games the Aggies are hitting 75.5 percent of their foul shots. That is a particularly good percentage when you consider Baylor lead the Big 12 last year with a 74.3 mark.

“We’ve been shooting them really well in practice, but it just hadn’t been carrying over to the games,” said senior Josh Carter, who is 39th in the nation with an 87.5 percent success rate. “But it’s starting to work for us. I’m sure we’ll struggle at some point, but you never know with us.”

As for coaching, Turgeon doesn’t believe in messing around too much with anyone’s form. Rather, he wants each player to make sure they follow the same routine, shot after shot.

“I don’t care what (their routine) is as long as it’s the same every time,” Turgeon said. “You have to have a checkpoint, whether it’s finish high, follow through, back rim, or something they say that makes them feel good about themselves. We ask them to do it during practice, because in the game if they’re thinking about their routine and checkpoint, they’re not thinking about the ramifications of the free throw.

“Knock on wood, the last couple of games we’ve shot them pretty well, but we work hard on it.”

Donald Sloan has also upped his percentage, making 33-of-40 (82.5 percent) so far this season after turning in a 67.2 mark during conference play last year. Aggie fans used to cringe when Sloan stepped to the line, but A&M’s players and coaches don’t blink twice these days when Sloan gets fouled.

“I don’t worry about Sloan,” Carter said. “Last year when he had his little funk, it was more mental. As long as he stays in his groove, he’ll be fine.”

Turgeon said the same goes for the rest of the team, as confidence may have as much to do with a player’s success as anything.

“I don’t want to get in their head because shooting is such a delicate thing,” Turgeon said. “I want guys to feel comfortable. It’s very important when you’re sitting over there with two minutes to go in a game for your guys to step up and knock them down.”

Game time tonight against SMU is at 7 p.m….This will be the first time SMU (3-4) has traveled to Reed Arena, as the two teams have not met since the final year of the Southwest Conference (1995-96 season)…The Aggies travel to Houston on Saturday for a neutral site game against LSU at the Toyota Center. The game is part of the H-Town Holiday Shootout, with Texas and Michigan State also playing. Buying a ticket gets you into both games, and there are still seats available at For you cash-strapped students, $20 seats are still available, so get on it!...Chinemelu Elonu is one of six A&M players from the Houston area, but the 6-foot-10 forward said he won’t have many family members in the stands. His parents are traveling to their native Nigeria this weekend to visit family and friends during the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend By The Numbers

1.1 – Seconds remaining in regulation when B.J. Holmes sank a 3-pointer to send the A&M-Alabama men’s basketball game to overtime on Saturday. Holmes’ trey capped a frantic comeback in the final 23 seconds of the game.

1 – Point allowed by the Aggies in the final 3 minutes, 15 seconds of overtime in Alabama. A&M didn’t allow a single Crimson Tide field goal in the extra session.

5 – Different swimming events in which Aggie senior Triin Aljand holds or shares the Estonian national record. Over the weekend, Aljand set the 50 freestyle record twice, as well as the 100 butterfly. She also has her name on national records in the 50 backstroke, 50 butterfly, and as a member of the 200 medley relay.

59 – Rebounds by the women’s basketball team against Texas State on Dec. 13. The total matched a Reed Arena record and was the most by the Aggies since they pulled down 50 against McNeese State on Nov. 21, 2006.

23-2 – Run to start the women’s basketball game against Texas State. The hot start set the table for a beating, as the Aggies cruised to a 94-45 victory. Seven players scored in double figures for No. 3 A&M, which is off to a 9-0 start.

0 – Quarterbacks in A&M football history who were more accurate than Stephen McGee. McGee, who won the Aggie Heart Award at last weekend’s year-end banquet, finished his career 485-for-815, a 59.5 completion percentage.

Weekend By The Numbers

1.1 – Seconds remaining in regulation when B.J. Holmes sank a 3-pointer to send the A&M-Alabama men’s basketball game to overtime on Saturday. Holmes’ trey capped a frantic comeback in the final 23 seconds of the game.

1 – Point allowed by the Aggies in the final 3 minutes, 15 seconds of overtime in Alabama. A&M didn’t allow a single Crimson Tide field goal in the extra session.

5 – Different swimming events in which Aggie senior Triin Aljand holds or shares the Estonian national record. Over the weekend, Aljand set the 50 freestyle record twice, as well as the 100 butterfly. She also has her name on national records in the 50 backstroke, 50 butterfly, and as a member of the 200 medley relay.

59 – Rebounds by the women’s basketball team against Texas State on Dec. 13. The total matched a Reed Arena record and was the most by the Aggies since they pulled down 50 against McNeese State on Nov. 21, 2006.

23-2 – Run to start the women’s basketball game against Texas State. The hot start set the table for a beating, as the Aggies cruised to a 94-45 victory. Seven players scored in double figures for No. 3 A&M, which is off to a 9-0 start.

0 – Quarterbacks in A&M football history who were more accurate than Stephen McGee. McGee, who won the Aggie Heart Award at last weekend’s year-end banquet, finished his career 485-for-815, a 59.5 completion percentage.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Finals Week Note

I know most of you students are wrapped up in finals this week, so I'm not going to bother posting too many updates for the next few days.

Once we get through this week, we're going to hit the basketball coverage--both men's and women's--pretty hard as we get ready for conference play. As always, if there's anything you'd like to see in the future, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email with any suggestions (or if you just want to talk Aggie sports).

That's it for me....everybody have a great week!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend By The Numbers

4 – Season-low number of turnovers for the men’s basketball team against Arizona on Friday night. No Aggie player had more than one turnover, while the Wildcats committed 15 turnovers.

20 – Number of seconds in which the Aggies led Arizona. After training by as much as 13 points in the second half, sophomore Nathan Walkup capped the A&M comeback with a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining.

1,525 – Career points for senior guard Takia Starks. Starks moved into third place on the A&M career list during her 21 point performance against SMU on Sunday.

3 – Opponents that have been held under 20 points in the first half against the women’s basketball team. SMU scored just 18 points in the opening frame to join SFA (12 points) and Mercer (15 points) as Aggie casualties.

4 – Baseball players named to the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award preseason watch list. First baseman Luke Anders, outfielder Kyle Colligan, and pitchers Travis Starling and Kyle Thebeau made the list. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player.

10 – Career Big 12 Diver of the Week or Month honors earned by senior Eric Sehn. Sehn earned the award most recently in late November after his performance in the local Art Adamson Invitational.

0 – Number of A&M sporting events taking place this week. It’s gonna be a long few days until the women’s basketball team hosts Texas State on Dec. 13.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Heartbreak, Part Two

The scene last Sunday night had all the makings of being a classic team party. Almost everyone associated with the Aggie volleyball program gathered together, balloons adorned the living room, and pieces of cake were passed around. After the finish the Aggies had to their regular season, reeling off must-win victory after must-win victory, there were plenty of reasons for happiness and anticipation as everyone awaited the NCAA Tournament selection show.

Indeed, it had been a finish for the ages for A&M. After being left for dead at the bottom of the conference standings at the mid-way mark of the schedule, the Aggies rattled off six consecutive (and resounding) victories to climb all the way to a tie for fourth in the Big 12. Surely, with a finish that high, plus a conference and overall record on the happy side of .500, A&M would be invited to college volleyball’s biggest stage.

Only the words “Texas A&M” never appeared on the screen. The Aggies had been frozen out. Again.

Last year, A&M posted a solid 21-10 (10-10 Big 12) record but was left at home. As tough as that was to stomach 12 months ago, it was equally difficult this time around.

“It was enormous (heartbreak),” said coach Laurie Corbelli, who was obviously still upset several days after the fact. “When the last bracket showed, you could tell there wasn’t an ‘A&M’ listed. Then, the sobbing started.”

Certainly, the Aggies were far from a guaranteed tourney participant, as the team’s 16-14 (11-9 Big 12) record was far from overpowering. But, the way the team played in the final seven matches showed A&M would have been a dangerous draw in bracket play.

After losing an extremely tight 3-2 decision to No. 3 Nebraska on Nov. 5, the Aggies picked up consecutive wins against Iowa State Baylor, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech and Missouri. Just days before the Nebraska near-miss, A&M battled No. 16 Kansas State to five sets. The Aggies couldn’t break through in either game, and an extra point here or there would have given Corbelli a signature victory for the selection committee to consider.

As the season wound down, the players kept the faith. The win streak, they thought, would put them in a good position to claim an at large berth. The Aggies had even returned to the ‘receiving votes’ column of the AVCA coaches poll.

Instead of celebrating, however, everyone in attendance was left wondering what if.

“It was pretty bad in there,” recalled Corbelli. “I told them how proud I was of the season. It really wasn’t enough, because they didn’t want to hear any of it. All they wanted to hear was that we were going (to the tournament). I told them a couple of times not to forget how they were playing and the feeling they had when they were playing so well.”

The season-ending winning streak will certainly stick with the players and coaches over the off-season, and the second consecutive NCAA snub will provide ample motivation once the team begins gearing up for 2009. A&M has missed the postseason in each of the last three years, and the soon-to-be senior group of Sarah Ammerman, Jennifer Banse, Mary Batis, Dylan Faulkner Jola Kelner and Kristen Schevikhoven won’t want to end their careers without stepping into the tournament spotlight.

“You have to make adjustments and changes,” said Corbelli. “We’re bringing in four new players already who I feel are going to really make a huge impact. We have to figure out a way for our disappointment in ’08 to show up in September and stick around through November.”

One of those changes will be the team’s pending move from G. Rollie White Coliseum to Reed Arena. The upcoming MSC renovations will likely take over much of G. Rollie for office space, with the MSC Bookstore possibly taking over the current playing floor.

Corbelli is certain, however, that a fresh start could be a welcome sight after three trying years.

“(Moving) is going to be a really good thing for us for a while, even if it is just for a while,” said Corbelli. “We need a new look. It certainly can’t hurt us to have a new look, a new home, a new approach. If it’s a time of change, this is perfect.”

Maybe next year’s selection show party will be perfect, also.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bryan Davis Q&A

Every week, 12th Man On Campus brings you a Q&A with an Aggie student-athlete or coach. This week, junior hoopster Bryan Davis was kind enough to take a few questions as the Aggies prepared to host Arizona on Friday night in the Big 12-Pac 10 Hardwood series, one of the biggest non-conference home games in recent memory.

Q: Do you feel like the team needs to redeem itself after the way the Arizona game went last year?
BD: Yeah I feel like we do need to redeem ourselves. Last year, we didn’t come out and play as well as we should have in the second half, and we have a good opportunity to come out here and put together 40 minutes on Friday.

Q: The Arizona crowd got into it a lot last year, so are you excited to get them at your place this year?
BD: Actually, I think everybody was looking forward to playing them at their house last year. Just being at home is a plus for us so we can be in front of our fans. Overall as a team, everybody is pretty much looking forward to playing them.

Q: What kind of atmosphere are you guys expecting here on Friday night?
BD: I’m hoping for a pretty good basketball atmosphere. We haven’t had a whole lot of good turnouts lately, but Arizona is a good basketball school. I think our fans will come out and support us.

Q: We’ve seen a couple of times so far this season that you guys have made just about every free throw toward the end of the game. Is that some mental toughness that you’ve improved since last year?
BD: I think it’s mental toughness, and the fact that we’re the type of team that, when it comes down to it and we have to hit those free throws, we’re going to hit them. We have to be more consistent with it throughout the game, though, so we don’t get in those situations. We need to knock our free throws down earlier in the game, because we missed a lot of free throws during the Tulsa game.

Q: Do you feel like you guys learned some things in the South Padre tournament that will be beneficial on down the road?
BD: A loss is never good, but (losing to Tulsa) was definitely a wake-up call for us. It let us know that anybody can be beaten. Everybody in our circle, in our team, we all know that we’re going to be good. So, that was a wake up call telling us we have to be better and more consistent during the whole game and not just during five- and 10-minute spurts. We have to play a full game.

Q: If you could grade yourself thus far, what would your grade be?
BD: Probably about a C+.

Q: How do you get up to B+ or A?
BD: I need to be more consistent and limit my turnovers. I also need to be more of a leader on the court, and off of it, also.

Q: Do you consider yourself a mentor to some of the other big men on the team?
BD: Yeah, I feel like I’m mentor to them. Sometimes you have to be more than vocal with them—you have to lead by example and let them see you doing the things the right way.

Q: Do you see a lot of potential in Denzel Bowles and David Loubeau?
BD: There’s a lot of potential in those guys. Denzel is really showing some good things, and David has really come a long way.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BEHIND THE SCENES: Schwarz Steps Off For Aggie Band, Steps Up For Women's Basketball

Nathan Schwarz vividly remembers one of his first up-close-and-personal encounters with the Aggie Band. Early in his high school career, the youngster from China Springs, Texas, took a family trip to College Station, where Nathan’s sister, Rebecca, Class of 2006, would soon be attending college.

Nathan wasn’t a complete stranger to Aggieland prior to that visit several years ago (his father, Duane, was Class of 1982 and a member of the Aggie Band), but he stared in awe as he watched the band form up on the Quad and begin it’s regular pre-game march to Kyle Field. Nathan, who played in his high school band, took it all in as he followed closely behind.

Nathan’s mother, Kim, easily recalls that sunny Saturday afternoon.

“He said the hair on his arm was raised (as he watched the band),” said Kim from the family’s home in China Springs, located a few minutes northwest of Waco. “He followed them out before the game, and he said ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’ From that day on, we knew he was definitely going to be in the band.”

What the family didn’t know that day was how much more Schwarz would accomplish once he arrived at Texas A&M.

Instead of following, Schwarz, a senior kinesiology major, now helps lead the Aggie Band out during every halftime performance as a member of the bugle ranks. In addition to stepping off on Kyle Field, he also plays a big role across Wellborn Road, where Schwarz is a key component of “The Guy’s,” the group of male students who work out daily with the women’s basketball team.

His role with the practice squad for the last two years may be one of Schwarz’s most important duties on campus, as the Aggies have been ranked in the top 10 in both seasons. Schwarz is a left-handed point guard who operates the scout team with precision, and the role he plays isn’t lost on head coach Gary Blair.

“He gives us the look that we have to have, particularly this year because we don’t have many point guards,” Blair said. “He’s exactly the right size, about 5-foot-9, and he has a great personality. He can go in there and get (elbowed by) Micheaux like many of our players have, and he just gets up, doesn’t say anything and plays hard on the next play.

“He has helped us more than any men’s practice player I have ever had. He may be the ultimate 12th Man.”

The humble Schwarz discounts that idea, but his job on the men’s practice team says a lot about the type of person he is. Team members are held to the same grade requirements as Blair’s players, which means they have to be in good academic standing and enrolled in at least 12 hours every semester.

This semester, Schwarz makes the trek to Reed Arena four days a week for practice, which means showing up around 1 p.m. and leaving sometime after 4, not a simple task when you consider he’s also enrolled in 16 credit hours and has several daily obligations with the Corps of Cadets. All he receives for his time with the team is a pair of shoes, said Blair.

But, it’s all in a day’s work for Schwarz, who also serves as A-Company’s athletics officer and helps schedule the group’s intramural teams.

“I like coming out here and knowing I’m making them better,” Schwarz said. “Last year when they made it to the Elite Eight, it felt really good to know that I had a behind-the-scenes part in that. I like being a quiet helper and coming out here to practice with them and help them get better every day. That’s the best reward, watching them play and watching them win—I feel like I’m doing my job out here with them.”

In addition to countless hours at practice, Schwarz is a regular in the crowd at the team’s games.

“ I know they’re always struggling with attendance, so I want to do my part in practice and in the stands. (The team) started getting better right when I started school, so it’s been easy to come out and watch. I enjoy going to any sport, and it’s always good to support another Aggie team.”

Between his time toiling away during basketball practice and his hundreds of hours spent drilling and performing with the Aggie Band, his support for Aggie Athletics may not be surpassed by any student on campus.

Schwarz is set to graduate in August, but he plans to apply to graduate school at A&M and work toward being a strength and conditioning coach after that. His last halftime performance on Kyle Field was at the Oklahoma game on Nov. 8, but he’ll be eligible to work with the basketball team through the end of the season.

His parents, meanwhile, can’t help but to smile when they contemplate everything Nathan has done. The Schwarz’s haven’t missed a home football game since Nathan joined the band. Kim said they haven’t made it to any basketball practices yet, but her son has said they are welcome to come down and watch any time.

“It’s a pretty neat thing,” Kim said. “There are only 12 other moms this year who can say they have a son in the bugle ranks. We’re pretty proud of all his accomplishments. A couple of weeks ago, the basketball team presented him with a Benjamin Knox painting and told him how much they appreciated him. It was the Friday before the last football game, and they told him good luck on his last march. (That made him feel like) he was doing something right, and he was very proud of that. That means a lot to us.”

Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekend By The Numbers

5 – Ranking of the A&M women’s basketball team in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Over the weekend, the Aggies (6-0) picked up wins against Penn State and host Pepperdine to claim the Timeout 4 HIV/AIDS Tournament.

18 – Scoring average for Takia Starks in the Pepperdine tournament, enough to earn tournament MVP honors. Starks scored 19 against Penn State and followed that with 17 against Pepperdine.

102 – Minutes it took for top-seeded North Carolina to put away the Aggie soccer team. A&M narrowly missed its first-ever appearance in the Final Four, losing a heartbreaker, 2-1, in double overtime in Chapel Hill, N.C.

5 – Players in double figures for the men’s basketball team against Kent State on Saturday. Bryan Davis, B.J. Holmes, Josh Carter, David Loubeau and Donald Sloan all finished with at least 12 points. Davis posted his second career double-double, with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

57.1 – Season-best shooting percentage by the Aggies, achieved against Kent State. It was a dramatic change from Friday’s game against Tulsa when A&M made a season-low 30.9 percent.

6 – Consecutive wins for the volleyball team to close the regular season. Despite the late season heroics and a fourth place finish in the Big 12, the Aggies were left out of the NCAA Tournament.

4 – Former Aggie softball players that have signed or played with the Philadelphia Force in the National Pro Fastpitch league. The most recent Aggie to sign was former centerfielder Jami Lobpries. Last year, Megan Gibson was the No. 2 overall pick in the NPF draft, and former players Rocky Spencer and Sharonda McDonald have also spent time with the Force.