March 1, 2014
Freshman Brandy Montgomery had 38 points in her past two games (Anthony Hall photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – For Auburn’s women’s basketball team, there is much still be won or lost. The Tigers could finish as high as No. 6 in the final Southeastern Conference standings. They could earn their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2010.
It all starts Sunday when the Tigers (16-12 overall, 7-8 in the SEC) go on the road to play Ole Miss (10-19, 1-14) at 2 p.m. in their regular-season finale.
Second-year coach Terri Williams-Flournoy says the Tigers’ focus isn’t on standings or next week’s SEC Tournament. It’s on the Rebels, a team with nothing to lose.
“We have to win our game first,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We have to get that win on Sunday to even figure out any of that. We have to take care of business.”
The Rebels, Williams-Flournoy insists, are more dangerous than their record indicates. She points to forward Tia Falura, averaging 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, and point guard Valencia McFarland, averaging 16.6 points and 6.4 assists per game.
“They are a very good team,” Williams-Flournoy said. “They just have not had a very good year. They have one of the best point guards in the SEC and a forward that is very hard to guard. They’ve been in games. You can’t take them lightly. You can’t look at their record.”
Auburn goes into the final day of the regular season in a three-way tie for sixth with Vanderbilt and LSU. Vanderbilt plays at Kentucky and LSU plays at Alabama. Florida is one game ahead in fifth. Alabama, Missouri and Georgia are one game behind.
The Tigers are coming off an emotional 70-65 double overtime win over Alabama. They rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to sweep the season series from the Crimson Tide.
“We were happy for the win,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We had a great comeback. We shouldn’t have gotten down by 17. That’s over. We have to let it go and focus on our next one.”
With that in mind, Williams-Flournoy called Tanner, Auburn’s top scorer and emotional leader, in for a talk on Friday.
“I talked to Ty and told her she has to make sure this team is ready,” Williams-Flournoy said. “She can’t assume just because Coach Flo says it that’s what they are going to do. Players listen to players more than they listen to coaches. Coming from your senior, showing how important it is to her, makes it more important to them. She has to stay focused herself and stay on task. She has to keep everybody on task.”
The Tigers, Williams-Flournoy said, need more from Montgomery than just points.
“As good as Brandy shoots the ball and scores, she has to get in there and rebound,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Her court awareness is really what is bad for her. She really doesn’t know what is going on on the court. None of that is going to be fixed this year. Any kid coming into Division I college basketball, defense isn’t what they’ve worked on.”
Tanner leads Auburn in scoring with 17 points per game. She shares the rebounding lead with her sister, sophomore Tra’Cee Tanner, with 6.3 per game. Montgomery averages 11.4 points per game.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: