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Texas A&M Women at SEC Tip Off '14

October 16, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
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(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair and senior Karla Gilbert were in Birmingham on Wednesday as the SEC held its "Tip Off '14", the annual Media Days, at the Westin Hotel.

Video links are available to the right, and quotes below (courtesy secdigitalnetwork.com).


TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR

On the women’s game…

“I think the game’s in great shape because we do a pretty good job in the women’s game of policing ourselves. There’s not a whole lot of scandal in the women’s game on recruiting or anything like that. We still have the problem of not putting enough butts in seats on a consistent basis and a lot of that has to do with marketing at your own institutions. The game, I was part of the game in the ‘80s when we were winning a national championship at LA Tech. We were just as skilled back then as we are now. The difference is the post players are more skilled now, they can go out like a Candace Parker and do things that back then the Anne Donovan’s or the Pam Kelly’s could not do. So that’s what’s changed.”

On defense…

“I always thought that defense was beautiful. We built our championships at Texas A&M on defense first, because when I first got started, the McDonald’s All-Americans were not going to come to Texas A&M because we were at the bottom – the conference office was higher than us. We were at the dead bottom, and so you’ve got to go recruit kids that will fit within your system. We taught them how to play our defense, and then we taught them about what pressure was all about and we would be like gnats and mosquitoes back then. That’s how you build it up.”

On this year’s expectations…

“If you come to practice, have your hands up because we are going to hit you if you’re on the sidelines. We have prided ourselves in assist-turnover ratio and it has been excellent. A point guard has got to be 3-to-1 to me to be a great one. I’ve had some that are 2-to-1’s that are darn good ones, but I need that 3-to-1 ratio. Right now, I’ve got sophomores at the guard position that are talented, but they are learning how to play into the flow of the game, and they are learning to realize I run a lot of sets. Sets take execution. It’s not a motion offense, everybody just runs around. It’s not a democracy. I want the ball in the hands of who I want the ball in the hands to. I want kids to pay a little bit more attention to the fundamentals of the game and sharing the ball, but we’re going to have to be able to create with the guards again.”

SENIOR CENTER KARLA GILBERT

On winning the SEC tournament last year and feeling like there is a “target on the team’s back” this year:

“Most definitely, it’s just the name of the game. When someone has been labeled a champion here, or it’s just the true rivalry of basketball so it’s OK. We’re going to keep going hard doing what we do best and going for it.”

On the lineage of great post players at A&M and stepping into those shoes and being a part of that group:

“Playing with both of them has been amazing. I’ve learned a lot from both. It’s a great feeling. It’s my last year. I’m ready to go all-out and I’m just ready.”

On her leadership role as a senior:

“I guess it’s kind of just natural. We have a lot of underclassmen who although they might not have the title as captains, they’re driven and they’re willing to help the team also so we’re a pretty well-rounded team.”

On her expectations for the year for herself and for the team:

“Me personally, I have a lot of great expectations for the team. I’m hoping that we go a little bit further than we did last year. Obviously, everyone’s goal is to make it to the top so we’re working hard. We’re getting in the gym every day, and we’re improving.”


Gilbert Accepts Invitation To San Antonio Stars Training Camp
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