Feb. 29, 2008
Auburn will look to end a three-game losing streak today when it closes out the regular season hosting Arkansas. This will be the first time in Auburn history that Arkansas is the regular season finale opponent. The Tigers are 13-9 all-time vs. the Lady'Backs and won the first meeting at Arkansas on Feb. 10, 73-68. As always, the Tigers will look to All-America nominee DeWanna Bonner to provide a spark on both ends of the court. Bonner leads Auburn with 18.2 points (second in the league) and an SEC best 10.0 rebounds a game. Bonner is currently on a four-game double-double streak, dating back to Feb. 21. Inside conference play, Bonner has put together an improved 19.2 points a game, which leads the SEC. Bonner, along with Jordan Greenleaf, lead an Auburn team that ranks second in the SEC in blocks, as each has contributed 36. Sherell Hobbs has been a consistent factor for Auburn all year, as she averages 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game. In league play, Hobbs has stepped up her game, averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. Auburn is shooting 42.5 percent overall (40.1 percent in SEC games), and 32.9 percent from long range (29.9 in SEC games). Auburn's defense ranks at the top of the conference, as it leads the league in rebounding margin (+6.0). The Tigers grab 40.7 boards, while its opponents manage 34.8 a game. Nell Fortner is in search of her second straight regular season finale victory today.
Arkansas lost its seventh straight SEC game on Thursday at LSU, 46-83. After the unbeaten start in non-conference play, Arkansas saw itself ranked in the top-25 in both the AP and coaches poll, but dropped out after suffering two straight losses to open SEC action. Arkansas has been playing without its All-SEC starting post-player, Lauren Ervin, who suffered a torn ACL in the LSU game on Jan. 10. Sarah Pfeifer has taken over the starting role in her absence and is averaging 11.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in league play. Overall, Ayana Brereton leads the team this season, averaging 11.6 points a game. Inside SEC play, Brereton has 12.9 points a game. Whitney Jones leads Arkansas on the defensive side, snatching 7.1 boards a game. The Lady Razorbacks are shooting 43.3 percent (fourth in the SEC), while its opponents make 38.4 percent of their shots. However, in SEC play, the Lady'Backs are shooting 39.6 percent, while its opponents are making 44.2 percent of its shots. Arkansas has managed 66.4 points a game, while its opponents put up 61.8 points. On the other side of the ball, Arkansas grabs 38.0 rebounds a game for a 1.9 margin over its opponents. Arkansas is led by first year head coach Tom Collen, who joined the program after four seasons at Louisville. Collen was an assistant coach at Arkansas from 1993-97 working under John Sutherland in 1993 and Gary Blair from 1994-97.
Auburn holds the all-time series advantage over Arkansas, 13-9. When playing at home, Auburn also has the upperhand 7-2. Auburn won the first meeting with Arkansas this season, 73-68, in Fayetteville on Feb. 10. Nell Fortner is 2-2 vs. Arkansas.
Last Time Out
The Auburn women's basketball team fell 73-56 to No. 23 Vanderbilt on Thursday. Cassie Moore dominated the boards, turning in a career high 12 rebounds to lead Auburn. Auburn began the game trading basket-for-basket with Vanderbilt until just under 12 minutes in the first half when the Commodores went on a 27-13 scoring run. At the half, the Commodores led the Tigers 42-26. In the beginning of the second half, the Tigers cut the Commodores' lead to 10, but were unable to pull any closer. DeWanna Bonner led the Tigers with 19 points, her ninth-consecutive double-digit game. Bonner added 10 rebounds, earning her 13th double-double of the season and fourth straight. Sherell Hobbs followed closely behind Bonner with 18 points, her 16th-consecutive double-digit game.
Auburn will travel to Nashville, Tenn., for the SEC Tournament March 6-9. The competition will be held at the Sommet Center with the first game scheduled for 12 p.m. on March 6 (#8 vs. #9 seed). Auburn will know its seeding on Sunday after all SEC games are completed.