Women's Basketball Continues Two-Game Road Swing At Arkansas
Feb. 12, 2011
[NR/NR] Auburn (13-11, 6-5 SEC) at [NR/NR] Arkansas (16-7, 4-7 SEC)
When: Sunday, February 13 4 p.m. CT
AUBURN - Looking to break the team's current three-game losing streak, the Auburn women's basketball team (13-11, 6-5 SEC) will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for a 4 p.m., Sunday meeting against Arkansas (16-7, 4-7 SEC). The game will air live on ESPN2 with Carter Blackburn and Roslyn Gold-Onwude calling the action.
The game is part of ESPN's "February Frenzy," bringing awareness to cancer. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and The V Foundation.
"It is always great to play on national television, so we are looking forward to that opportunity," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "The fact that it is partnered up with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and The V Foundation is even better. This is a great opportunity for us to go out and bring awareness to breast cancer and the importance of early detection through basketball."
For Auburn, the Arkansas game is its second with its new lineup after the departure of Jordan Greenleaf. At LSU on Thursday, the Tigers started Blanche Alverson, Chantel Hilliard, Alli Smalley, Morgan Toles and Jassany Williams. It was the sixth different starting lineup for the Tigers and the first career start for Williams.
"I was pleased with the lineup," said Fortner. "I thought we adjusted well. It took a half, but we have that out of the way now and we are off and running. I was pleased with how hard they competed. We gave it a shot there, we had a shot at the end and that was nice."
Arkansas went a perfect 12-0 in the non-conference portion of the season, but has struggled with a 4-7 mark so far in SEC play, including a current three-game losing streak. Two of the three losses in the streak have been in overtime, falling at Georgia (57-54) and at home against South Carolina (64-62).
The Razorbacks last played a week ago with Thursday being its off-day for the season.
Bud Walton Arena has not been friendly to the Razorbacks in the SEC season with Arkansas going 1-4 in home league games. The lone victory was against Kentucky (78-67) in the team's SEC home opener on Jan. 6. Since then, Arkansas has lost at home to Georgia, Ole Miss, Tennessee and the Gamecocks.
Three Razorbacks average double figures in scoring with C'eira Ricketts leading the way with 13.8 points per game. She is followed by Sarah Watkins with 13.2 points and Lyndsay Harris with 13.1 points per game. The trio also accounts for 101 of Arkansas' 112 three-pointers this season with Harris leading the way with 67.
"C'eira Ricketts is one of the best guards coming off an on-ball screen as we have ever played against," said Fortner. "Lyndsay Harris is shooting the three-ball well. They have a really nice group of players."
Ashley Daniels leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game, followed by Keira Peak with 5.8 and Watkins with 5.7.
As a team, Arkansas shoots 40.1 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from 3-point range. The Razorbacks average 64.6 points per game on the season.
"You have to be prepared to guard the on-ball screens," said Fortner. "They have the ability to beat in you in several ways but especially off the dribble. They are great penetrators and great 3-point shooters and they set a lot of screens and you have to be ready for that."
After a 9-2 run in the heart of the season, Auburn has struggled in the last week with a three-game losing streak. Two of the three losses are on the road with the Tigers continuing the run of road games at Arkansas.
The Tigers have lived off their defense this season, averaging 9.2 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. Auburn opponents average 19.2 turnovers per game with the Tigers scoring an average of 18.7 points per game off of turnovers.
Alverson and Smalley lead the team with 11.4 points per game each. Smalley and Alverson have also combined to average 3.4 3-pointers made per game.
Alverson also leads the team in rebounding with 4.5 boards per game, followed by freshman Williams with 3.5 per game. Point guard Toles averages 8.3 points and 5.1 assists per game, good enough for second in the SEC.
For fans that cannot make it to the game, live stats and an audio Webcast will be available at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 96.7 FM with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards. The game will also be available live on ESPN2.
Auburn University will host the first and second rounds of the 2011 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, March 20 and 22 at Auburn Arena. Tickets are available now at AUBTix.com.
Follow Auburn women's basketball on Twitter at twitter.com/AuburnWBB.
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