Jan. 15, 2014
By Phillip Marshall
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Terri Williams-Flournoy's first experience with the Auburn-Alabama rivalry was not a pleasant one. The Tigers, mired in what would become a nine-game losing streak, went to Foster Auditorium and lost 71-61.
On Jan. 24 of last year, against an Alabama team that would win just two Southeastern Conference games, the Tigers didn't show much of what Williams-Flournoy, in her first season, expected.
"I didn't really see the intensity level I thought would be there playing Alabama," Williams-Flournoy said.
"I don't know. Maybe our players didn't understand the rivalry."
At home, on Feb. 17, the Tigers broke their losing streak with a 70-53 win over Alabama and began a finishing kick that would take them to the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
Things have changed at Alabama. Wendell Hudson was fired at the end of the season and replaced by Kristy Curry. The Tigers (10-6, 1-2) go back to Foster Auditorium tonight to play the Tide (8-8, 1-2).
"It's a big rivalry, but for us it's a very important road game that we need to play well in and win," Williams-Flournoy said.
After winning at Mississippi State in their SEC opener, the Tigers dropped back-to-back home decisions to Vanderbilt and Missouri.
Williams-Flournoy said she doesn't a lot of difference in Alabama in Curry's first season. The Tide is coming off its first SEC victory, 93-79 over Ole Miss.
"I don't really think they are that much different," Williams-Flournoy said. "They are playing a little more 2-3 zone. They are a little smaller in the post, but the guards are just as good as last year."
Senior Tyrese Tanner leads Auburn with 16.5 points per game. Senior Hasina Muhammad 12.8 per game and freshman Brandy Montgomery 11.3. All of them, Williams-Flournoy said, need to be more consistent.
"I think we've made some progress," Williams-Flournoy said. "Right now, it's just the inconsistency. Some days we press well. Some days we foul too much. Some days we shoot well. Some days we don't. It's just so inconsistent right now. We've seen it in a few games, and those have been very good games for us."
Shafontaye Myers leads Alabama with 15.8 points per game. Point guard Daisha Simmons averages 14.9 and Ashley Williams 11.1
"Really, we have to go in understanding that Simmons is a very good point guard," Williams-Flournoy said. "We have to try to control her as much as we can, and we can't give Myers open 3's. That's what hurt us last year."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: