KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Whitney Hand says it “stinks” that Oklahoma's women's basketball team keeps losing to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Tournament.
Four straight years, now, the Aggies have sent the Sooners packing, including a 79-66 beatdown Friday in the semifinals at Municipal Auditorium.
But it won't happen anymore.
After Saturday, when the Aggies bid farewell to Big 12 hoops by playing Baylor in the title game, A&M women's basketball is someone else's problem. Namely, the Southeastern Conference.
“I wish them well in the SEC,” said Sherri Coale, with barely a hint of a smile.
Coale won't admit to missing the Aggies once they're gone. So I'll do it.
We'll miss Gary Blair and his folksy soliloquies and his Doberman defenders and his big gals who can score around the basket.
We'll miss these OU-A&M battle royales, programs that reached Final Fours in 2009 (OU), 2010 (OU) and 2011 (A&M).
Amid all the realignment in Conference Chaos, the three irreplaceable programs are Nebraska football (because it's Nebraska), Missouri men's basketball (because of the Kansas City and KU connections) and A&M women's basketball.
For OU, and Baylor, and Texas, and OSU, and Tech, and anyone the least bit serious about women's hoops, the Aggies were fun to compete against, though admittedly a bear to beat.
So we all should miss Blair's Aggies. And here's another reason why. Blair's Aggies will miss us.
“The respect I have for Oklahoma, the respect I have for Sherri, the athletes she recruits,” Blair said. “I get up for playing Sherri and Oklahoma. That's going to be one of the rivalries that I'll miss more than anything in the Big 12, going against Sherri.
“I mean, she outdresses me every time. She looks better than I ever have, and she's got Whitney Hand over there. Everything about Oklahoma, I like.”
Everything about Gary Blair, I like. Not that I expect the Sooners to feel all mushy about the Aggies. The wounds are too fresh from Big 12 Tournament losses of 74-62 in the '09 semifinals, 74-67 in the 2010 title game, 81-68 in the '11 semis and now this.
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