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Women’s basketball looks to advance past Texas A&M on the Aggies’ home court

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Women’s basketball looks to advance past Texas A&M on the Aggies’ home court

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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Marquette women’s basketball will have a chance to make history Sunday, as the No. 5 Golden Eagles will play No. 4 Texas A&M with the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance at stake.

“We don’t want it to be our last college game, and we know that we have the potential to make it to the Sweet 16,” senior guard Natisha Hiedeman said. “That’s been our goal since we got here. We want to be the first team in program history to do that, and we’re really striving for that goal.”

Marquette and Texas A&M both rely heavily on star point guards. Hiedeman was Marquette’s second consecutive player to earn BIG EAST Player of the Year honors. Chennedy Charter led the Southeastern Conference with 22.6 points per game for the Aggies.

“Carter is probably one of the best guards with the basketball I’ve ever seen,” Kieger said.  “So for us, just to try to stop her is going to be a battle. I think our team is excited for that challenge.”

Friday’s game against Wright State was Carter’s first action in nearly three weeks due to an injury to her right pinkie.

While Marquette has a reputation for its high-octane scoring, its offense was not the reason for MU’s 58-54 win over Rice in the first round.

“I don’t think in years past that we would have won that ball game only scoring 58 points,” Kieger said. “I’m really proud of our defense this year, and it is something we’ve been working on since the moment that we lost last year to Louisville.”

Like Rice, Texas A&M will have a height advantage over the Golden Eagles.

“We have to keep them off the boards,” Kieger said. That’s our number one thing to the game plan… they’ve got to be one and done. We have to keep them off the board, and we have to  keep them off the free-throw line.”

The Aggies are ranked four spots ahead of the Golden Eagles in the latest AP Poll, and this is the Aggies’ 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

A trip to the Sweet 16 is not the only history on the line for Marquette. Kieger currently sits at 99 total wins for her career and looks to get her 100th. She said knows it will not be easy playing in front of Texas A&M’s home crowd.

“At the end of the day, we have got to earn it and it is not going to be easy, and Texas A&M is not going to give it to us,” Kieger said. “I think you’ll see a very different team tomorrow than you did (Friday).”

With its win over Rice Friday, Marquette set a program record in wins with 27 and will be playing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.

“To get to something this special is amazing,” Blockton said. “It is just a special feat that we have in showing how much better we’ve done each year that we’ve been here”

However, it’s clear they’re still hungry to achieve more.

“We want more. Twenty-eight, 29, 30 wins,” Hiedeman said.

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