Jan. 8, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn women's basketball team (10-4, 1-0 SEC) last played at home on Dec. 18, 2013, a 64-27 win over Presbyterian. Now, nearly a month later, the Tigers will return to the home court, hosting Vanderbilt (12-3, 1-1 SEC) in the team's Southeastern Conference home opener.
The Last Meeting
February 28, 2013
Cold-Shooting Tigers Fall At Vanderbilt, 59-44
Despite forcing 26 Vanderbilt turnovers, the Auburn women's basketball team couldn't overcome a tough shooting performance and foul trouble as it fell to Vanderbilt, 59-44, Thursday night in the Tigers' lowest-scoring game of the season. The Commodores improved to 18-9 (8-6 SEC) on the season, while Auburn fell to 15-13 (4-11 SEC).
In the time since that win over Presbyterian, the Tigers have played just three games - two on the road and one on a neutral site. For Auburn, the return home is exciting.
"It's great, we really appreciate being back home," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "We love being in front of our own fans, and to come back home after our first SEC victory on the road is always great."
Auburn had a long layoff before its SEC opener on Sunday, an 82-74 win at Mississippi State. The Tigers looked rough in the early minutes, but after shaking the rust off, Auburn played a solid final 30 minutes of the game, picking up its first SEC win.
"I wasn't surprised at our first half, we hadn't played a game of basketball since Dec. 22," said Williams-Flournoy. "That was a very long time, so to come back and play as well as we did in the second half was really attributed to our defense. I thought we played great defense. We had a lot of energy in the second half."
Now at the mid-point of the 2013-14 season, senior Tyrese Tanner has stepped up to be a consistent presence for the Tigers, leading the team in both scoring (17.3 points per game) and rebounding (6.9 rebounds per game). Additionally, her younger sister Tra'Cee Tanner has assumed a starting role on the team and is averaging 9.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in the post. She is coming off a game at MSU in which she totaled a career high six steals in the back line of Auburn's press.
"Tyrese is our senior, so she brings her leadership and her scoring, but the biggest thing she brings is her defensive tenacity," said Williams-Flournoy. "When she's at the top of the press and when she's feeling good, she wreaks havoc up there for those guards.
"Tra'Cee gives us the presence inside, and I thought she played really well for the first time in the back line of our press. When she gets really good at that, she'll be a really good player for us. She'll be able to play the offensive end inside presence and the defensive end in the back of our press."
Opening at home against Vanderbilt is no small task. The Commodores have put together a solid season so far, despite entering the game off a loss.
"Vanderbilt is very good, and not any different than any other Vanderbilt team," said Williams-Flournoy. "They shoot the ball extremely well, they are a little smaller this year than they have been in the past, but that doesn't make any different when you have so many kids that can shoot the ball. They run their offense efficiently, and they just take care of the ball."
Using the 1-2 punch of Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt has put together a 12-3 overall mark and a 1-1 record in SEC play. The Commodores' losses have come against Marquette, Duke and South Carolina. VU also has wins over James Madison, Dayton, Wisconsin and Georgia.
Foggie leads the team with 18.2 points and 4.4 assists per game while Lister averages 15.5 points and 4.7 assists per game. The duo are also the top outside shooters for Vanderbilt, combining to average four 3-pointers per game. Heather Bowe leads the team with 5.1 rebounds per game.
"Foggie and Lister are very tough and they can score in a variety of ways," said Williams-Flournoy. "They both shoot the ball extremely well. They can create off the bounce, they can shoot the three. The biggest thing is to limit their touches if anything, but it's really hard to hold good players down."
Vanderbilt has relied on its offense this season, scoring more than 80 points in nine games and more than 90 in two games. As a team, the Commodores shoot 48.3 percent from the field.
Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT at Auburn Arena with doors opening at 4:30 p.m. Fans can listen live with Andy Burcham on 98.7 WANI FM in Auburn or online at AuburnTigers.com.