Jan. 25, 2008
Auburn returns to the road for a short trip to Tuscaloosa on Sunday for the 67th meeting with Alabama where it looks to snap a two-game losing streak. The Tigers are coming off a 59-79 loss to No. 9 LSU on Thursday. The last time Auburn and Alabama met was last February in Auburn when the Tigers rolled by Alabama 93-61. The point total tied for Auburn's most over an SEC foe since Feb. 17, 1993, when Auburn scored 93 to defeat the Tide. The Tigers are led by DeWanna Bonner who averages 16.4 points a game, fourth best in the SEC, (13.3 in SEC play) and 10.0 rebounds a game, second best in the league (8.8 in SEC play). Sherell Hobbs has been an offensive threat the last six games, as she has averaged 13.7 points a game in that stretch. Hobbs leads Auburn offensively in conference play, putting up 15.0 points a game (second on the team in all games with 12.4 ppg). Overall Auburn is turning in 71.4 points a game and limiting its opponents to 58.8 points per contest. The Tigers are shooting 43.3 percent overall and 36.2 percent from long range. Alli Smalley leads the Tigers from beyond the arc, as the freshman has made at least one three in 15 games this season. She is averaging 12.0 points a game in the last six contests, since she became the starting PG. Defensively, Auburn pulls down the league's third best rebounding effort, 41.3 a game, while holding its opponents to 34.5 boards per game. The Tigers block 4.9 shots a game (23rd in the nation) and steal 10.7 balls a game.
Alabama returns to action today a week removed from its 53-71 loss at Georgia on Jan. 20. The Crimson Tide are currently on a three-game losing streak, having dropped games at Florida (65-80), Arkansas (49-63) and Georgia. The Crimson Tide are led offensively by freshman Tierney Jenkins, who averages 11.7 points a game. Tierney also leads the group in steals as she grabs 1.9 a game. Defensively, sophomore Talisha Chandler headlines the team with 8.3 boards a game, 5.5 of which are on the defensive glass, while Tierney adds 7.2 a game. Alabama is averaging a league low 56.4 points a game, while its opponents have put up 58.7 points against the Tide. The Tide is shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 29 percent from long range, both rank 11th in the SEC. Alabama's strength is in its defense, which has allowed its opponents just 37.7 percent shooting overall and 29.3 percent from three-point range. The Tide grab 41.2 rebounds a game and outrebound its opponent by a 6.6 margin, both numbers rank top five in the league. Head coach Stephany Smith is in her third year at the Capstone where she leads a team that includes just two upperclassmen - junior Camilla Blands (7.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and senior Nathalie Reshard (1.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
Auburn holds the all-time series advantage over Alabama 34-32, but the Crimson Tide have the edge in Tuscaloosa, 18-10. Auburn has won the last three meetings by an average of 15.3 points. The last time Alabama beat Auburn was Jan. 8, 2006, in Tuscaloosa, 54-68.
Auburn will have one week to prepare for Mississippi State on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. CT in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The first 500 fans will receive an Auburn jigsaw puzzle.