Nov. 14, 2012
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (1-1) will play its 2012-13 home-opener Thursday night, taking on Alabama State (0-0). Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT, at Auburn Arena with doors opening at 4:30 p.m. CT.
"The biggest thing is we want to be able to put on a good showing in front of our home crowd," said first-year Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "We want to show them how well we can play, how hard we can play, a different style. Let's get into our presses, let's turn teams over, let's push in transition, let's score. Let's just give our fans a picture of what we look like."
Auburn is coming off a 1-1 weekend at the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational. The Tigers downed Maine in the season opener, 71-41, but lost to host North Carolina State, 85-71, in the championship game. Sophomore Hasina Muhammad led Auburn in scoring in the first game with 20 points while Tyrese Tanner led the way against the Wolfpack with a career-high 26 points.
After averaging 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds over the weekend, Tanner was named the SEC's Player of the Week on Nov. 12. She was the first Auburn player to earn the honor since Blanche Alverson on Jan. 13, 2011.
"I thought Tyrese was really good because she finally figured out that there are so many aspects to the game that she can bring," said Williams-Flournoy. "Not just scoring, she is a great rebounder. She can be a good defender, and she always thought she was working hard. I'd tell her everyday, `You're not working hard. You're not working hard enough.' Now she's starting to figure out there's a lot of things. She can be an all-around player every single game."
Auburn returns home to face the Hornets, who are playing their season-opener. It is the 18th meeting all-time between the teams with Auburn holding a 17-0 series lead. The last meeting was an 84-47 win on Nov. 15, 2006.
The visiting Hornets will have to deal with a re-charged Tiger defense under Williams-Flournoy. Auburn forced an average of 23.0 turnovers per game last weekend, turning them into a total of 50 points.
"I thought we tried to execute our presses a little bit and tried to be in the right place at the right time," said Williams-Flournoy. "Offensively, sometimes I thought our sets looked very good. Sometimes we didn't screen as well as we needed to screen, but I saw a lot of improvement and a lot of things we need to work on."
Alabama State returns 11 letterwinners and three starters from last season's team that went 14-14 and finished fifth in the SWAC with an 11-7 record. Included among the returners are the top three scorers from last season for the Hornets.
Leading the way is sophomore Danielle Gazaway with 9.0 points per game, followed by Kierra Page with 7.6 and Quentoria Alford with 7.3. Alford is also the top returning rebounder with 8.1 per game last season.
"I know it is hard scouting a team in the beginning of the season that has not played," said Williams-Flournoy. "They're athletic. They have a few kids that can shoot the 3 extremely well. Good size post player that can score inside. We have to be able to defend her, as well. They'll mix up their defenses a lot. I think a lot of it is just being prepared and ready to play the way we need to play."
For fans that cannot make it to the game, GameTracker and a live video Webcast will be available at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 96.7 FM and AuburnTigers.com with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Stephanie Follett.
Season and tickets are still on sale with individual packages starting at $50 for reserved chairback seats. Auburn students are allowed in for free and discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Auburn's home schedule this season features games against Hofstra, Temple, Samford, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Florida, Missouri, Mississippi State and in-state rival Alabama.
For more information, please call the Athletic Department ticket office at 1-855-282-2010 or visit www.AUBTix.com.