Texas A&M plots to slow down Stanford in semifinal
INDIANAPOLIS – Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen have run through nearly every emotion possible this week – even before their Final Four game.
The two Stanford seniors were relieved just to reach Indianapolis. They are determined not to leave this Final Four empty-handed. And they are eager to get back to work today against Texas A&M.
Somehow, they’ve even found a way to – get this – relax heading into their final weekend as college teammates.
“I’m just trying to enjoy every moment, trying to have fun,” Pedersen said Saturday. “Whatever happens, happens, just as long as all of us lay it all out there for each other.”
The semifinal shapes up as a clash of styles.
The Cardinal (33-2) have four scorers averaging in double figures and score 79.8 points per game as a team, but Texas A&M has a shutdown defense and Stanford isn’t playing at Maples Pavilion where it has won 63 straight.
Texas A&M (31-5) is only the second team in tourney history to limit four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer, and six of the last eight Aggies opponents have failed to top 50 points.
All-American forward Danielle Adams and teammates Sydney Carter and Sydney Colson cracked jokes during their media availability, and coach Gary Blair even brought out a step ladder and measuring tape at the end of the 1-hour practice – stealing a scene from the movie “Hoosiers,” which was filmed 6 miles away at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Texas A&M also added some down home language to the discussion
“We say howdy,” coach Gary Blair said in his opening comments. “You’re supposed to say howdy back. Most of y’all are just getting up, I understand.”
On the court, there’s no Southern hospitality.
Blair, who made the Final Four in 1998 with Arkansas, is back with the same game plan that shocked top-seeded Baylor on Tuesday. The Aggies will pressure Stanford’s guards for 40 minutes, hoping to score off turnovers, and use the versatility of Adams to put additional pressure on the Cardinal defense.
It was good enough to get the Aggies within a game of playing for their first national title.
“I think we’ll be pretty successful making them uncomfortable, making them run something they don’t really want to run because it’s just the style of defense we play,” Carter said.