Women's Basketball Travels To In-State Rival Alabama
Jan. 23, 2013
AUBURN - The Iron Bowl spills over to the basketball court Thursday as the Auburn women's basketball team (13-6, 2-4 SEC) travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a meeting with in-state rival Alabama. The game will air live at 8 p.m. CT, on CSS with Matt Stewart and former Auburn coach Joe Ciampi calling the action. It will also air on CSN Houston, The Comcast Network / Philadelphia, BHSN, CST and ESPN3.com.
The Tigers are coming off a tough stretch that included three-straight games against top-20 teams and are in the middle of a stretch that includes four of five games on the road.
Coaching in her first game against an improved Alabama team, Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy is preparing for a Crimson Tide team that features a new style and a lot of new faces in 2013.
"Alabama is going to come after us and they are going to press us," said Williams-Flournoy. "They are a very athletic team from top to bottom. They have a really good point guard that's going to push it in transition and we have got to be able to stop the ball. They are going to pick us up full court, half court. It's just another team, defensively, that we have to prepare for offensively as well as not turning the ball over. There are a lot of things we need to really clean up."
The Crimson Tide dropped to 11-7 (1-4 SEC) on the season after a 69-96 loss at No. 9 Tennessee Sunday night.
Sophomore Daisha Simmons, who is averaging 12.4 points per game, leads the Tide. She is also the team leader in assists (76) and steals (48) on the season. Redshirt sophomore Kaneisha Horn is averaging 8.8 points per game while leading Alabama in rebounds with 5.5 per game.
In conference play, Simmons and Horn are averaging 14.0 and 13.2 points per game, respectively. The Tide's lone SEC victory comes from an 83-75 win over Ole Miss on Jan. 13.
Alabama averages 71.1 points per game while holding their opponents to 69.7 points per game. Much like Auburn, UA has relied on its defense this season, forcing 24.4 opponent turnovers per game while tallying 12.4 steals per game.
"The two biggest impact players that I see are Daisha Simmons at the point guard position now and Kaneisha Horn in the post," said Williams-Flournoy. "Simmons sat out last year and Horn is returning after some injuries. They also have a few freshmen as well, that are playing. Ty Evans, having been there, has helped us out a little bit, since he brought all of them there. Those two are probably the biggest addition that is making them really good and different at this point."
Auburn is 13-6 and averaging a 21.5-point margin of victory in the 13 wins. Three Tigers are averaging double figures, led by Hasina Muhammad with 16.7 per game, including six 20-point games, and 5.6 rebounds. Tyrese Tanner is at 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while Blanche Alverson comes in with 12.1 points and 5.6 boards per game.
Alverson is also coming off a big game at Kentucky where she pulled down the 500th rebound of her Auburn career. The rebound made her just the fourth Auburn player ever to tally 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals and 50 blocks.
"It is a great honor for Blanche and puts her in pretty select company at Auburn," said Williams-Flournoy. "Being proficient in all those areas is what makes her a great player and a great asset to the team. That's a great accomplishment, and just goes to show that she's put in the work to do those things for us."
Center Peyton Davis leads the team in the post, averaging 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Najat Ouardad is tops in the SEC and 10th in the country in assists with 6.9 per game while scoring 5.2 points per game.
Fans can listen to the game on 96.7 FM in Auburn or on AuburnTigers.com with Andy Burcham and Stephanie Follett calling the action. GameTracker will be available on AuburnTigers.com.
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