Feb. 19, 2011
Game Notes | Game Day Central
[NR/NR] Auburn (14-12, 7-6 SEC) at [NR/NR] South Carolina (15-11, 7-6 SEC)
When: Sunday, February 20 1 p.m. CT
Where: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) Columbia, S.C.
TV/Webcast: FSN/ESPN3.com; Dave Baker and Christy Winters-Scott
Radio: WMXA 96.7 FM; Andy Burcham (play-by-play), Arnika Edwards (color)
Audio Webcast: AuburnTigers.com
Series: Auburn leads, 20-14 (7-8 in Columbia)
Last Meeting: Auburn def. South Carolina 54-47 in Auburn, Ala. (1-30-11)
Last Meeting in Columbia: South Carolina def. Auburn 63-49 (1-17-10)
Up Next: Auburn will remain on the road for its final road game of the season - a Thursday meeting with Georgia in Athens, Ga.
AUBURN - With only three regular-season games remaining, the Auburn women's basketball team (14-12, 7-6 SEC) will continue its push for postseason play Sunday as the Tigers travel to Columbia, S.C., to face South Carolina (15-11, 7-6 SEC). Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m. CT, and will air live on Fox Sports Net and ESPN3.com.
With the season winding down and the Tigers facing a difficult stretch with games against the Gamecocks, Georgia and Kentucky, teams all ranked in the top half of the Southeastern Conference, Auburn head coach Nell Fortner said the key is taking it one game at a time.
"You have to take it one game at a time and focus on that team," said Fortner. "We have to do all we can to win the ball game and all we can to prepare the team with as much information so they can go out and do the best they can."
The season-ending gauntlet for the Tigers begins Sunday with one of the hottest teams in the SEC.
After a difficult stretch in the heart of the season, South Carolina has rebounded to win five of its last seven games and put itself in a tie with Auburn and LSU for fifth in the SEC. The only two losses during that stretch have come against Auburn (54-47) and on Thursday at #4 Tennessee (82-60).
"South Carolina is a hot team right now," said Fortner. "They have won five of their last seven games and are playing some really good basketball. They are coming off a tough loss at Tennessee, but are playing at home against us. It will be a good, tough environment and we have a lot to get ready for."
The Gamecocks have been tough at home this season, posting a 12-3 record at Colonial Life Arena. The only losses have come against #5 Xavier (84-65), Florida (65-63) and #5 Tennessee (71-56).
Six different players average at least 5.0 points per game with Iesia Walker leading the way with 12.9 points per game. Ashley Bruner averages a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game along with her 8.3 points while La'Keisha Sutton averages 9.7 points with a team-best 3.8 assists per game.
Eight different Gamecocks have hit a 3-pointer this season with four hitting more than 20 each. Walker leads the way with 31 on the season.
As a team, South Carolina shoots 38.2 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from 3-point range, averaging 5.0 3-pointers per game.
"I think Ieasia Walker and Valerie Nainima are playing really well right now, especially Nainima as she continues to get healthier after her knee injury," said Fortner. "They do a great job of putting a lot of pressure on you defensively and they make have to play hard to beat them. They shoot the 3-ball really well and are a tough team."
February has not been kind to Auburn with a 1-4 record, but the Tigers are looking to re-group in the final three games of the regular season for a push for post-season play. The Tigers recently had a three-game losing streak that was broken by the team's 64-59 win at Arkansas last Sunday.
The Tigers have lived off their defense this season, averaging 8.7 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. Auburn opponents average 19.0 turnovers per game with the Tigers scoring an average of 18.4 points per game off of turnovers.
Senior Alli Smalley leads the team with 11.5 points per game, followed by sophomore Blanche Alverson with 11.2 per game. Smalley and Alverson have also combined to average 3.3 3-pointers made per game.
Alverson also leads the team in rebounding with 4.5 boards per game, followed by freshman Jassany Williams with 3.7 per game. Sophomore Morgan Toles averages 8.5 points and 5.1 assists per game, good enough for first in the SEC.
For fans that cannot make it to the game, GameTracker will be available at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 96.7 FM or AuburnTigers.com with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards.
Dave Baker and Christy Winters-Scott will call the game for Fox Sports Net. Check your local listings for channel information.
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.