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Aggies take on USA Basketball Women's National Team

5 days ago
Photo: Texas A&M Athletics

COLLEGE STATION - The USA Basketball Women's National Team, in preparation for the 2020 Olympics, visits Reed Arena to take on Texas A&M in a friendly game on Thursday. Tip time is set for 7 p.m., with broadcast coverage on SEC Network +.

"It is a tremendous honor to be one of the teams that USA Basketball selected as competition to prepare our national team for the Olympics," head coach Gary Blair said. "When you've won a national championship and had the consistent level of success our program has had on the court and filling up the stands, you get rewarded with an opportunity to compete against the best players in the world, which is really special."

Among the 12 athletes committed to the national team for the collegiate tour are four former SEC stars in Seimone Augustus (LSU), Sylvia Fowles (LSU), Allisha Gray (South Carolina and A'ja Wilson (South Carolina). The other members of Team USA are: Sue Bird (Connecticut), Layshia Clarendon (Cal), Napheesa Collier (Connecticut), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Notre Dame), Chelsea Gray (Duke), Nneka Ogwumike (Stanford), Kelsey Plum (Washington) and Diana Taurasi (Connecticut).

In support of growing interest in the sport of women's basketball at all levels while recognizing the opportunity for current student-athletes to compete against former college stars, the NCAA granted waivers to allow member schools to compete against the 2019-20 USA National Team. The games do not count for or against the teams' overall records, or towards their NCAA Tournament resumes.

The Aggies have previously faced seven of the 12 athletes committed to the USA Women's National Team tour, including defeating Ogwumike's Stanford team and Diggins-Smith's Notre Dame en route to the 2011 National Championship. In 2013, the Aggies held Washington's Plum to her career-low of six points in a Texas A&M win inside Reed Arena and swept Clarendon's Cal teams over a pair of games in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Connecticut's Collier, Duke's Gray and South Carolina's Wilson have also faced Texas A&M in their collegiate careers.

Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter and Jordan Nixon have been selected to play on USA Basketball National Teams. Carter averages 13.4 points over 17 games in international tournaments, earning a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship and two silver medals. Nixon was named to two USA Basketball National Teams, but was unable to compete both times.

This is the second time the Aggies have faced the USA in an exhibition, as the eventual Gold Medal-winning team from the 2008 Beijing Olympics visited Reed Arena in 2007.

Coming off back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances, Texas A&M has been as high as No. 4 nationally in early preseason rankings. The Aggies are the only team from last season's Sweet 16 to return every starter for the 2019-20 season. The returnees account for 94% of last season's points and include four double-figure scorers.