Tigers Come Home To Face SEC-Leader #6 Kentucky
Jan. 25, 2012
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (10-10, 2-5 SEC) will play its final home game of January Thursday night as the Tigers host Southeastern Conference leader #6/6 Kentucky (18-2, 7-0 SEC). Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT, from Auburn Arena.
The Wildcats come into Auburn as one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking first in the country in turnover margin and ninth in steals per game. Kentucky averages forcing 29.2 turnovers per game, including two games where it forced more than 40.
"There is no question, they apply pressure for the entire 40 minutes," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "Starting four guards makes them extremely quick and gives you a different look going against them defensively. We just have to be prepared for a lot of different things with them."
Kentucky is the only remaining undefeated team in league play in the SEC, boasting a 7-0 record that includes victories over Georgia and Tennessee.
"Kentucky is just having a great year. They are a pressure defensive team that wants to make you play fast and little bit out of control," said Fortner. "They will try to turn the ball over and score quickly on the other end. We have to be prepared for that defensive pressure for 40 minutes and be prepared for all of the different players coming off the bench.
"We have to keep up with matchups and understand what kind of combinations they have on the bench as well as what you have. They are definitely having a great year."
The sixth-ranked Wildcats are coming off a five-point win at home against the Florida Gators, 57-52, marking the first time in program history to start conference play 7-0. With the game tied at half, the Wildcats came out firing to start the second half, going on a 17-2 run that propelled Kentucky to the win. The Wildcats, who have won seven straight, are currently 5-1 against Top-25 teams, including a one-point win over Tennessee, a five-point victory at Georgia and a seven-point win over Duke. Kentucky ranks eighth in the nation in scoring, averaging 78.6 points per game.
The Wildcats are led by junior guard A'dia Mathies who leads the team in points with 15.3 per game, rebounds with 5.6 per game, and steals with 3.0 per game. The Louisville, Ky., native has started in 19 games that she has played. Also helping lead the way for the Wildcats is Bria Goss, who is second highest leading scorer on the team, averaging 11.7 per game. The freshman guard from Indianapolis, Ind., earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Jan. 23 for setting a career high in points against Georgia with 22, and grabbing a career high nine rebounds against Florida.
"A'dia Mathies is one of the best guards in this conference, without a doubt," said Fortner. "She is a great athlete and can hurt you in so many ways. Samarie Walker, a transfer from UConn, has added a great inside presents for them. They are deep and they are pretty solid at every position."
Auburn is 10-10 on the season and 2-5 in SEC play after a 62-57 loss at Mississippi State on Sunday.
Depth and Defense have been the key words for Auburn this season. Nine different Tigers have started in seven different starting lineups while five different players have led the team in scoring. Nine players are averaging at least 15.0 minutes per game this season.
Leading the way is sophomore Tyrese Tanner with 11.1 points per game, good enough to rank 18th in the SEC. Coming off the bench, Tanner has led the Tigers in scoring in four of the last six games. Right behind her is freshman Hasina Muhammad with 9.9 points per game, a mark that ranks her 26th in the SEC and second among league freshmen.
Two other Tigers are near double figures as Blanche Alverson averages 9.0 points per game, followed by Camille Glymph with 8.8. Senior Parrisha Simmons leads the team in rebounding with 5.5 boards per game.
For fans that cannot make it to the game, GameTracker and a live video Webcast will be available at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 96.7 FM and AuburnTigers.com with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards.
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