Jan. 18, 2014
Freshman Meagan Tucker moved into the starting lineup against Alabama (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Freshman point guard Meagan Tucker got her introduction as a Southeastern Conference starter on Thursday in Auburn's 61-42 romp at Alabama. Sunday, will be a different kind of test.
Auburn (11-6 and 2-1) will play No. 10 Kentucky (14-3, 2-2) at 1 p.m. CST at Auburn Arena. It will be the Tigers' second consecutive home game against a Top 10 team. They lost last Sunday 72-66 to then-No. 10 South Carolina.
Junior college transfer Kiani Parker, recruited as a shooting guard, started Auburn's first 16 games at point guard. Tucker, who missed time early because of a concussion, got her first start of the season at Alabama. She was 2-for-3 from the field, scored 4 points, had 2 assists and 3 turnovers.
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said it was time for Tucker to get her chance.
"Meagan was really in that position to start before she went out," Williams-Flournoy said. "We just felt like we needed a true point guard in that position. It wasn't that Kiani Parker did anything wrong. I thought she really tried extremely hard to be the point guard that we needed her to be. But when that's not your natural position, it's just not as comfortable. Being a point guard comes very naturally for Meagan."
Though the numbers weren't substantial, Williams-Flournoy said she was pleased with Tucker's performance.
"I thought Meagan did pretty well," Williams-Flournoy said. "Meagan competed in a high level in AAU playing for the George Metros. She's playing against a lot of kids she has played against in the summer."
Tucker and Parker were on the court together at times and could be together even more against Kentucky, a pressing man-to-man team that rarely backs off.
"Handling the ball under pressure is the biggest thing," Williams-Flournoy said. "It's not so much just handling the ball. It's attacking the pressure. You can't just lay back and let them attack you. You have to attack them. You have to take the pressure, feed off the pressure and attack them back."
Senior Tyrese Tanner continues to lead Auburn in scoring at 16.4 points per game and rebounding at 6.6. Senior Hasina Muhammad averages 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds. Sophomore Tra'Cee Tanner averages 9.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. Freshman Brandy Montgomery averages 11
Kentucky has six players averaging double figures, led by DeNesha Stallworth at 12.8 points per game. Jennifer O'Neill averages 12.5 points per game.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: