Auburn To Wrap Up SEC Road Swing With 2 p.m., Sunday Game At No. 11/12 LSU

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Sunday's game is a homecoming for senior KeKe Carrier.
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Sunday's game is a homecoming for senior KeKe Carrier.
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Jan. 9, 2010

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GAME 16

[NR/NR] Auburn (9-6, 0-2 SEC) at [11/12] LSU (13-1, 2-0 SEC)

When: Sunday, January 10 • 2 p.m. CT
Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,468) • Baton Rouge, La.
TV/Webcast: Fox Sports South; Dave Neal (play-by-play), Carol Ross (color)
Radio: WMXA 96.7; Andy Burcham (play-by-play), Arnika Edwards (color)
Audio Webcast: AuburnTigers.com
Live Stats: LSUSports.net
Series: Auburn leads, 27-14 (10-8 in Baton Rouge)
Last Meeting: Feb. 1, 2009 - 66-55, AU in Baton Rouge, La.
Last Meeting in Baton Rouge: Feb. 1, 2009 - 66-55, AU
Up Next: Auburn will return home for a meeting with in-state rival Alabama at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14 in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum

AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team returns to action Sunday as the Tigers travel south for a 2 p.m. game at No. 11/12 LSU. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports South (Charter Channel 33, Dish Network Channel 420, DirecTV Channel 654) with Dave Neal and former Auburn assistant coach Carol Ross calling the action.

The Tigers are coming off a tough 71-68 double-overtime loss at Florida on Thursday. Auburn was down by as many as 20 points in the first half, but used its pressure defense to limit the Gators to 19 second-half points, assisting the comeback to force overtime.

"We have to be a better defensive team, there is no question," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "I thought in the second half of the Florida game and the overtime, we played much better defense and that allowed us to get back in the game. We have to consistently become a better defensive team."

She will have her work cut out for her as the Tigers take on an LSU squad that averages 72.3 points per game and averages defeating its opponents by 26.2 points per game.

"LSU is a very good team. They return everyone from last year and they are very experienced," said Fortner. "Even though they are still young, they have a year's experience under their belt with a lot of SEC minutes. LSU has a great player in Allison Hightower, she is a do-it-all type of player. I think LaSondra Barrett is one of the best post players in this conference. They are very tough."

LSU returns four starters from last season's team that finished tied for second in the SEC and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Leading that group is Hightower, a senior, with 16.8 points per game. Sophomore forward Barrett is second on the team in scoring with 10.3 points per game while leading the team in rebounding with 5.9.

The Tigers enter the game with a 13-1 record and a four-game winning streak. The lone loss is at Nebraska, 77-63, on Dec. 20, 2009. LSU is off to a perfect 2-0 start in SEC play with a 70-58 win at South Carolina and a 63-38 win at Arkansas.

LSU shoots 42.9 percent from the field and 31.3 from 3-point range. The Tigers average winning by 26.2 points per game and out-rebound their opponents by 8.4 per game.

This will be the SEC home opener for LSU and is Pack the PMAC Day in Baton Rouge. Head coach Van Chancellor will be recognized prior to the game for his 500th career win. Chancellor, the former Ole Miss, WNBA and Olympic coach, has a 502-172 career record in the collegiate ranks and a 63-18 record at LSU.

"It is always tough playing on the road and playing at LSU is no easy feat," said Fortner. "They have great fans and it is a tough environment to play in and we are going to have to go in there and play some good basketball."

The game will also be a homecoming for Auburn senior KeKe Carrier, a native of Lake Charles, La. With her hometown being just 128 mile down Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge, she expects a big hometown crowd in the stands.

"I'm always excited about getting a chance to play in my home state and we are preparing right now to get that win," said Carrier. "I am excited to play in front of my family and my hometown crowd and be in front of all those people from Louisiana that I know."

Carrier is nearly averaging a double-double this season with 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season. In the Tigers' two SEC games, she is averaging team-highs of 21.0 points and 11.0 rebounds.

Fans that cannot make it to the game can follow along with live stats at LSUSports.net and an audio Webcast at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 96.7 FM with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards.

Auburn Women's Basketball Quick Hitters
Alli Smalley is 9 points away from making Auburn's top-30 career scoring list; KeKe Carrier is 1 rebound from 500
KeKe Carrier has five double-doubles this season, ranking her in a tie for first in the SEC
• Sunday's game is a Homecoming for senior KeKe Carrier, who hails from Lake Charles, La., 128 miles from Baton Rouge
• Sophomore guard Morgan Jennings dressed out for the first time this season at South Alabama
• Sophomore forward Chantel Hilliard will not play against LSU and is day-to-day
• Auburn is coming off a 71-68 double overtime loss at Florida; LSU is coming off a 65-38 win at Arkansas
• Auburn holds a 27-14 all-time record against Florida, 10-8 when playing in Baton Rouge
• Auburn won the last meeting with LSU, 66-55 in Baton Rouge; Alli Smalley was 5-for-5 from 3-point
• Auburn has a 174-141 all-time record in the SEC, Nell Fortner has a 35-37 record in conference play
• The Tigers are 0-2 against ranked teams this season, 88-148 all-time against ranked teams, 1-4 vs. 11th-ranked teams
• Auburn is 4-2 all-time on Jan. 10; Nell Fortner is 0-1
• The Tigers are 177-92 all-time in the month of January, 14-20 under Fortner
Nell Fortner is 1-6 against Van Chancellor at the collegiate and WNBA levels
Nell Fortner vs. Van Chancellor pits two former U.S. Olympic coahces against each other
• The Tigers are 2-4 on the road this season with losses to Temple, Florida State, San Diego State and Florida
• Auburn holds a 45-21 all-time record against teams from Louisiana and is 20-12 when playing in Louisiana
• In the win over Liberty, Auburn's front-court out-scored the back court for the first time since Feb. 10, 2008; the Tigers repeated the effort at South Alabama, vs. Valparaiso and at San Diego State
• Senior KeKe Carrier has logged nine straight games of 20 or more minutes for the first time since her freshman year
Nicolle Thomas scored 27 points against Florida State, the highest point output for an Auburn freshman since 1987
• The Tigers tied the Auburn single-game blocks record against Alabama A&M with 17
• Freshman Morgan Toles and sophomores Chantel Hilliard and Parrisha Simmons earned their first career starts in the season-opener against Troy; freshman Nicolle Thomas earned her first career start against Alabama A&M
Morgan Toles and Nicolle Thomas started against Alabama A&M, marking the first time for Auburn to have multiple freshmen starters since March 3, 2006 against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament (Boddie, Bonner, Carrier)
KeKe Carrier, Auburn's lone senior, started against Alabama A&M - her first since Feb. 11, 2007
• The Tigers are beginning their final season in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum before moving to the new Auburn Arena
• Auburn was picked eighth in the SEC Preseason Media and Coaches' polls, LSU (media) and Tennessee (coaches) were picked to win the league this season
Alli Smalley was picked the the Coaches' Preseason All-SEC Second Team
Nell Fortner is beginning her sixth season at Auburn, marking her longest tenure at any job
• The Tigers welcome four newcomers: Blanche Alverson, Morgan Toles, Nicolle Thomas, Pascale West
• Auburn begins the season with 6-7 KeKe Carrier and 6-8 Pascale West, two of the three tallest players in the SEC
• AU is without Reneisha Hobbs and Morgan Jennings after suffering ACL injuries, leaving the Tigers with a roster of nine
• Auburn will be a first- and second-round host of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in the new Auburn Arena

GAME NOTES

RANKINGS
Auburn is not ranked. LSU is ranked 11th in the AP poll and 12th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll.

NEXT UP FOR THE TIGERS
Auburn will return home for a meeting with in-state rival Alabama. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., Thursday from Auburn's Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.

QUICK HITS
Auburn is in its 39th season of women's basketball and sports an all-time record of 774-335... AU has made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, two WNIT appearances and three Final Fours in the program's history... Head Coach Nell Fortner is in her sixth season at Auburn with a 127-74 career record and a 110-63 record on the Plains... The Tigers are coming off a 30-4 season in 2008-09 with their first SEC title in 20 years and its second NCAA Tournament appearance in as many seasons.

AUBURN-LSU SERIES
This will be the 42nd meeting between Auburn and LSU with AU holding a 27-14 series advantage. Auburn also holds the all-time advantage when playing in Baton Rouge (10-8), but LSU has dominated the series recently by winning eight of the last 10. Auburn defeated LSU 66-55 last season, breaking a five-game winning streak for the Bayou Bengals. It also marked the first Auburn win in the Maravich Center since 2001. Head coach Nell Fortner owns a 1-5 record against the Tigers as Auburn's head coach.

ON THE TUBE
This will be Auburn's second televised game this season as it is aired live on Fox Sports South/Southwest (Charter Channel 33, Dish Network Channel 420, DirecTV Channel 654). Dave Neal will call the action with former Auburn assistant coach Carol Ross adding color commentary.

Auburn is 0-1 in televised games this season after falling 71-68 at Florida on CSS on Jan. 7.

THE CAROL ROSS CONNECTION
Carol Ross, who is providing color commentary for Sunday's game against LSU, is connected to the Auburn program in a couple ways. Ross served as an assistant coach at Auburn from 1982-1990 under former head coach Joe Ciampi. She left Auburn to take the head coach position at Florida.

While at Florida, Ross coached current Auburn assistant coach Kerry Cremeans during all four of her years as a Gator. Ross and Cremeans led UF to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1993 and followed up with another in 1994.

CAJUN TIGER
Auburn senior KeKe Carrier, a native of Lake Charles, La., will return to her home state for the last time this weekend as the Tigers take on LSU. Lake Charles is 128 mile west of Baton Rouge down Interstate 10.

AGAINST THE RANKED
Auburn holds an 88-148 all-time record against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Head Coach Nell Fortner is 7-31 against ranked teams at Auburn. The Tigers are 1-4 all-time against teams ranked 11th in the country, Fortner has never faced a team ranked 11th. Auburn is 10-12 all-time when playing a ranked LSU team.

The last game for the Tigers against a team ranked 11th in the country came on Feb. 6, 1996 in a 71-66 win at Vanderbilt. The last loss came on Dec. 14, 1994 in a 66-35 loss at Texas Tech.

Auburn is 0-2 against ranked teams this season after losses to #15 Texas A&M (79-59) and #12 Florida State (82-67).

LAST TIME AGAINST LSU (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alli Smalley scored 21 points, hitting all five of her 3-point attempts, and No. 5 Auburn bounced back from its only loss of the season with a 66-55 victory over LSU on Feb. 1, 2009.

Smalley made three quick 3s to open the second half and help Auburn turn a five-point halftime deficit into 32-30 lead. After LSU tied it at 34, Whitney Boddie scored six points during an 8-2 run and Auburn pulled away from there.

Boddie finished with 14 points while DeWanna Bonner scored 18 for Auburn.

Kristen Morris led LSU with 14 points, but left the game with 1:07 to go after twisting her left knee.

Smalley's jumper with 11:29 left began a decisive 13-1 run from which LSU could not recover. Bonner scored on a fast-break layup, a driving floater and short jumper set up by an effective upfake during the surge, which was capped by Smalley's runner that made it 55-39.

LAST TIME OUT FOR AUBURN
Down by as many as 20 points late in the first half, the Auburn women's basketball team rallied back in the second half, setting up a Nicolle Thomas 3-pointer with three seconds left to tie the game at 52-52 and send the Tigers to their first overtime game in more than a year.

After a 6-6 tie in the first overtime, it was Florida's Steffi Sorensen hitting three 3-pointers in the second extra period that put the Gators up for good, leading to the 71-68 win.

Auburn's KeKe Carrier tallied her fifth double-double of the season with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman point guard Morgan Toles followed with a career-high 14 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Sorensen, who had played more than 25 minutes of the game without a single field goal, connected on a 3-pointer on Florida's first possession of the second overtime. She hit another on the Gators' second possession and another on the third possession, giving Florida a 67-60 lead with 2:07 left to play. Auburn out-scored Florida 8-3 from that point on, but it was not enough as the Gators held on for the 71-68 win.

Auburn shot just 18.5 percent from the field in the first half and 38.2 percent in the second half. The Tigers connected on 7-of-15 shots in the overtime period to finish the game on 33 percent shooting. The Auburn defense held the Gators to 36.4 percent shooting, including a 27.3 mark from 3-point range.

LAST TIME OUT FOR LSU
Tied 19-19 at halftime, LSU erupted for 46 second-half points, holding Arkansas to 19 as the Tigers cruised to a 65-38 win in Fayetteville.

Four Tigers scored in double figures, led by LaSondra Barrett and Allison Hightower with 13 points each. Latear Eason added 11 while Katherine Graham added 10 along with her team-high eight rebounds.

The Tigers used a 19-4 run to start the second half to pull away for Arkansas for the win.

LSU shot just 31.8 percent in the first half, connecting on 7-of-22 from the field, but came back to shoot 48.6 percent in the second half. The Tigers foreced 29 Arkansas turnovers, collecting 16 steals on the day. Barrett and Destini Hughes had four steals each for LSU.

The Tigers out-rebounded the Razorbacks 42-27, including 14 offensive rebounds.

AUBURN VS. THE SEC
Auburn is 174-141 all-time in Southeastern Conference Games. Head coach Nell Fortner holds a 35-37 record in the conference.

Nell Fortner VS. VAN CHANCELLOR
This will be the eighth meeting between Nell Fortner and LSU's Van Chancellor with Chancellor owning a 6-1 advantage.

Only two of the meetings are at the collegiate level as Chancellor and Fortner met five times between 2001-03 in the WNBA.

Fortner coached the Indiana Fever while Chancellor coached the Houston Comets. Fortner is in her sixth season at Auburn and seventh overall as a collegiate head coach, holding a 127-74 career record. Chancellor is in his 22nd season as a college head coach and holds a 502-172 record.

AN OLYMPIC RING TO IT
Sunday's game against LSU will mark the first time this season that Auburn head coach Nell Fortner, who was head coach of the U.S. National Team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will face another Olympic coach. LSU head coach Van Chancellor served as the U.S. head coach at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Others Auburn will face this season include Tennessee's Pat Summitt (1984 Head Coach, 1980 Assistant Coach) and South Carolina's Dawn Staley (2008 Assistant Coach).

AGAINST THE PELICAN STATE
Auburn holds a 45-21 all-time record against teams from the state of Louisiana. LSU is the most frequent opponent as the teams have played 41 times. Records against Louisiana teams: Grambling (1-0), Louisiana-Monroe (0-1), LSU (27-14), Louisiana Tech (2-5), New Orleans (9-0), Nicholls State (1-0), Northwestern State (2-0), Southeastern Louisiana (1-0) and Tulane (2-1).

When playing in the state of Louisiana, Auburn holds a 20-12 record and a 12-8 record when playing in Baton Rouge. Records against teams when playing in Louisiana: Alabama [Baton Rouge] (1-0), Illinois State [Ruston] (1-0), Kentucky [Baton Rouge] (1-0), Louisiana-Monroe (0-1), LSU [Baton Rouge] (10-8), Louisiana Tech [Ruston] (0-3), Louisville [Ruston] (1-0), Tulane [New Orleans] (1-0), Northwestern [Ruston] (1-0) and New Orleans (4-0).

GETTING FREE BASKETBALL
Auburn's 71-68 double overtime loss at Florida on Jan. 7 was the Tigers' first overtime game in more than a year and first double overtime game in more than 20 years.

It is the first overtime game since defeating Ohio State, 87-70, at home on Nov. 23, 2008. Head coach Nell Fortner is now 2-3 all-time at Auburn in overtime games.

Auburn is now 14-15 all-time in overtime games.

INJURY REPORT
Auburn is down to eight active players after Chantel Hilliard went down with an injury against San Diego State. The sophomore forward is listed as day-to-day while recovering.

The Tigers started the season without two expected starters because of ACL injuries. Sophomore point guard Morgan Jennings went down with an ACL injury in July. She is dressing for games now, but has yet to see the court. Junior guard Reneisha Hobbs suffered an ACL injury on Oct. 25 during the team's Season Kickoff scrimmage. She is expected to be out for the season.

MILESTONE WATCH
Entering Sunday's game at LSU, senior center KeKe Carrier is one rebound away from reaching her 500th career rebound. She is 73 away from entering Auburn's top-20 career rebounding list.

Junior guard Alli Smalley is nine points away from entering Auburn's top-30 career scoring list. Nine points would tie her for 30th at 944 points with Kristen Mulligan (1992-96) while 16 points would tie her for 29th at 951 points with former teammate and roommate Whitney Boddie (2005-09).

ON THIS DATE. . .
When playing on Jan. 10, Auburn has a 4-2 all-time record. The Tigers last played on Jan. 10 in 2008, falling at Tennessee, 85-52. The last Tiger win on Jan. 10 came in an 83-48 victory at Mississippi State in 1990. Nell Fortner is 0-1 on Jan. 10.

WELCOME BACK
After suffering an ACL injury in July, sophomore guard Morgan Jennings dressed for Auburn's Dec. 20 game at South Alabama. Though she did not play in the game, it marked the first of the season for her to dress out at.

LOGGING THE MINUTES
Senior center KeKe Carrier has been logging the minutes this season and has played more than 20 minutes in the last nine games, including 31 at Florida. It marks the first time for Carrier to tally 20 or more minutes in nine games in a row since Feb. 2 - March 6, 2006 (22 at Florida, 37 at Vanderbilt, 22 at Ole Miss, 32 vs. South Carolina, 20 vs. Florida, 26 at Tennessee, 33 at Georgia, 28 vs. South Carolina, 24 vs. Tennessee) of her freshman season.

SUPER FRESHMAN
Freshman Nicolle Thomas did against Florida State what no Auburn freshman has done in a long time. The Moultrie, Ga., native scored 27 points against the 12th-ranked Seminoles, the highest single-game scoring output by an Auburn freshman since Linda Godby scored 30 against Mercer on Feb. 23, 1987.

Thomas stepped up again at Florida, banking in a 3-pointer with three seconds left to cap off an Auburn comeback and send the game into overtime.

DOUBLE DOWN
Senior KeKe Carrier tallied Auburn's first double-double of the season against Florida A&M in the 2009 Seminole Classic. The Lake Charles, La., native put up a season-high 17 points while coming one short of her career high with 12 rebounds.

She followed up in the very next game with another, tallying career-highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds in Auburn's 76-63 win at North Carolina A&T. Carrier tallied her third of the season against Valpo with 20 points and a career-high 19 rebounds and followed up with her fourth against Mississippi State with 18 points and 10 rebounds. She tacked on her fifth double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds at Florida.

Carrier is tied for first in the SEC with five double-doubles this season. She is tied with Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap and Alabama's Tierney Jenkins.

STARTING FRESHMEN
In the Nov. 19 win over Alabama A&M, Nicolle Thomas made her first career appearance in the starting lineup, joining fellow freshman Morgan Toles. With two freshmen starting, it marked the first time for Auburn to have multiple freshmen in the starting lineup since March 3, 2006 when freshmen Whitney Boddie, DeWanna Bonner and KeKe Carrier started in the SEC Tournament against Tennessee.

BACK IN THE LINEUP
KeKe Carrier, the lone senior on Auburn's roster this season, made her 24th career start on Nov. 19 against Alabama A&M. It marked the first time for Carrier to start a game at Auburn since Feb. 11, 2007 when she started at Vanderbilt.

68 AND COUNTING
Auburn junior guard Alli Smalley earned her first collegiate start on Dec. 29, 2007 at Saint Joseph's, the 14th game of her collegiate career, and has not left. Since then, Smalley has started in 68 consecutive games.

OFFENSE WINS GAMES
Auburn is 76-2 when scoring 70 or more points in the Nell Fortner era. The only times Auburn has lost when scoring at least 70 points was on Jan. 20, 2005 vs. No. 7 Tennessee, 71-81 and Feb. 19, 2009 at No. 18 Vanderbilt, 73-70. When scoring less than 70 points, Auburn is 33-61 during the Fortner era.

IN JANUARY
Auburn is 177-92 all-time in the month of January, including a 14-20 mark under Nell Fortner (records begin in 1978-79 season, not all dates provided prior to or during that season).