Jan. 19, 2007
Auburn, Ala. -
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The Tigers are coming off a 74-69 victory over Florida on Thursday to mark Nell Fortner's first win in Gainesville. The Tigers improved to 15-5, 2-2 SEC. After leading by as much as 16 points, the Gators fought back to tie the contest in the second half, but Auburn prevailed off made free throws by Whitney Boddie and DeWanna Bonner late in the game. Boddie and Bonner led the Tigers offense with 21 points a piece; a career high for Boddie. Bonner contributed 15 rebounds to tie for a career best.
Offensively Auburn continues to be led by Bonner with the fifth-best scoring average in the SEC, 15.7 ppg. Bonner has been the Tigers leading scorer in 10 contests this season and has notched a double-double nine times. Bonner also shines at the charity stripe as she makes 81.3 percent of her shots to lead Auburn (fifth in the SEC). Sherell Hobbs remains the only other Tiger averaging in double digits, as she has 12.0 on the year.
With a 9.1 rebounding average, Bonner controls the defensive side of Auburn's game as well, and is third in the league with that average. Even more impressive is her ability to grab 6.83 defensive boards, to rank second in the league.
The Tigers lineup continues to lack key defensive presence from 6-foot-7 inch KeKe Carrier who is out for the remainder of this month with a foot injury. Prior to her injury, Carrier averaged a then-SEC best 2.69 blocks a game. In her absence, Jordan Greenleaf has made strides in the blocking category and now averages 1.10 a game (10th in the SEC).
The Wildcats, 13-6, 2-2 SEC, are looking for its first win since the SEC debut against Alabama on Jan. 11. Kentucky has lost its last two games to Ole Miss, 65-67 (OT), and No. 8 LSU (58-76). Of the six losses this season, the Wildcats have lost by an average of just 8.2 points.
Kentucky is led in scoring by junior Sarah Elliott, who is one of two UK players in double figures with 14.1 ppg. Samantha Mahoney follows with 13.7 ppg. Senior Jennifer Humphrey leads the team in rebounding with 9.1 boards per game.
Mahoney is seven points shy of recording her 1,000th career point and will become the 25th Wildcat to score 1,000 points or more. Humphrey moved up to third all-time at UK in rebounding with 785 career boards.
The Wildcats are ranked in the top half of the conference in eight categories, including second in field goal percentage defense by holding its opponents to 36 percent shooting; also good enough for 22nd best in the nation. UK is also ranked in the top 30 in the nation in scoring margin (+15.5), scoring defense (55.8) and rebounding margin (+6.9).
The Wildcats return nine letterwinners from its 2005-06 squad that finished 22-9 and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1998-99 season. Head coach Mickie DeMoss is in her fourth season at Kentucky, owning a 64-48 record. Kentucky received three votes in this week's AP Poll.
Auburn has been successful in 72 percent of its 32 meetings with Kentucky. The Tigers have claimed 23 of those victories, including nine out of the last 10. When playing in Auburn, the Tigers lead the series 8-4. Auburn has not lost a game to Kentucky since the Jan. 6, 2000, outing in Lexington (69-71). The last time the Wildcats came to Auburn and defeated the Tigers was Dec. 6, 1998 (62-68).
The last time Auburn faced Kentucky, DeWanna Bonner scored 18 points and KeKe Carrier posted her third double-double with 12 points and a career high 11 rebounds as the Tigers picked up its first win inside the conference (Jan. 19, 2006). The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Auburn and halted a four-game winning streak for the Wildcats. Auburn held UK to just 29.9 shooting while making 51.9 percent of its own baskets.
Kentucky head coach Mickie DeMoss served as an assistant coach at Auburn under Joe Ciampi for two seasons. During that time (1983-1985) Auburn went 44-16 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UK assistant coach Pam Stackhouse and AU assistant Kerry Cremeans were coaching peers at Purdue from 1996-2003.