Tigers Arrive In California; Ready For Saturday NCAA First Round Game Vs. George Washington



March 20, 2008

Auburn NCAA Basketball Notes

Auburn In the NCAA Championship
In NCAA Tournament play, Auburn has accumulated an impressive record of 28-16 in its 16 appearances. Auburn's last trip to the NCAA Tournament was in 2004, when the Tigers fell to eventual national champion Connecticut on the Huskies home court in the second round. The Tigers' first-ever appearance was in 1982 when they fell to Cheyney State 64-75. That game, however, is the last time Auburn has lost in an opening contest of the Tournament. In Auburn's 16 NCAA appearances, the Tigers have made it to three Final Fours, six Elite Eights and 10 Sweet Sixteens. Six players have been named to the All-Final Four team, three were named the Regional MVP and 16 have been named to the All-Region team. Auburn's most common opponent in the tournament is Louisiana Tech, who the Tigers hold a 2-3 record against. The Tigers have also played multiple times against Louisville (2-0), Penn State (2-1), Stanford (0-2), Tennessee (0-2), Vanderbilt (2-0) and Virginia Tech (1-1). In seeding, Auburn has been a...
No. 1 seed - 3 times (10-3)
No. 2 seed - 1 time (4-1)
No. 3 seed - 4 times (5-4)
No. 5 seed - 2 times (2-2)
No. 6 seed - 1 time (3-1)
No. 7 seed - 4 times (3-4)
No. 9 seed - 1 time (1-1)

Auburn vs. George Washington
Auburn will meet George Washington for the second time this season. It will be just the fifth time in Auburn history that the team will play a regular season opponent in the NCAA Tournament. George Washington holds the all-time series advantage, 2-0. The Colonials and Tigers met on Jan. 3, 2008 in BEMC. No. 20 George Washington clinched the 68-66 victory on a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining. The Colonials were victorious last season in D.C., 62-51, in the programs' first meeting.

Scouting Auburn
Auburn is 20-11 on the season, marking the second straight 20-win season for the Tigers. This is Auburn's first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2004. The Tigers are led by first team All-SEC honoree DeWanna Bonner, who averages 18.5 points (second in the SEC) and an SEC best 10.2 rebounds a game (numbers are also top 30 in the nation). Sherell Hobbs leads the Tigers in steals with 73 on year, while also averaging 13.2 points a game (eighth in the SEC). Alli Smalley also averages in double figures, 10.7, and leads AU in assists, 87, and three-pointers made, 45. Nell Fortner is in her fourth year on the Plains and is making her first appearance in the NCAA tourney at Auburn. Though the 10 players for the Tigers do not have any NCAA Tournament experience, seven of them were part of last season's WNIT Elite Eight team.

Scouting George Washington
George Washington enters the tournament with a 25-6 record and a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title after posting a 12-2 ledger. First team All A-10 selection Jessica Adair leads the Colonials on both sides of the ball, averaging 15.3 points and 5.9 rebounds. Kimberly Beck, the A-10 Player of the Year, also scores in double figures, 13.3 points per contest, while dishing out 6.3 assists per game (12th best in the nation). GW is making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Colonials best finish came in 1997 when they advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to Notre Dame, 62-52. Head coach Joe McKeown, who has led GW to all 15 of its NCAA appearances, is making his 17th trip to the `Big Dance' in his 22nd season as a head coach.

Nell Fortner in the NCAA Tournament
This will mark Nell Fortner's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since her arrival to the Plains on April 22, 2004, but her ninth appearance in her collegiate coaching career. As head coach of Purdue in 1997, Fortner guided the Boilermakers to a second round appearance in the Big Dance. As an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech from 1991-1995, Fortner aided in five straight NCAA appearances, including a NCAA runner-up finish in 1994. Prior to that, Fortner served as an assistant at Stephen F. Austin and was part of three consecutive NCAA Tournament teams from 1988-90.

Tigers vs. 2008 NCAA Tournament Teams
Auburn holds a 3-7 record vs. teams in the NCAA Tournament. In those three victories, the Tigers hold a 15.0 scoring margin, outscoring opponents 74.7-59.7. In the 10 games, Auburn outrebounded its opponents 40.7-39.2 and in the wins, 64.3-42.0. Auburn's three victories came over sixth-seeded Ohio State and Arizona State and eighth-seeded Georgia.

Last Meeting with George Washington in NCAA Tournament
This will be Auburn's first meeting with George Washington in the NCAA Tournament. It is also Auburn's first meeting with any team that hails from the District of Columbia.

As the No. 11 Seed
This will be Auburn's first time as a No. 11 seed. It will be just the second time George Washington has been a No. 6 seed in the tournament. The last time the Colonials were a six-seed was in 1996. They lost in the second round, 62-43, to Georgia.

In "The Golden State"
Auburn has never played anNCAA Tournament game in the state of California. This will be Auburn's first trip to the West Coast for an NCAA game since 1996 when the Tigers traveled to Seattle, Wash., for Regionals. Auburn lost to Stanford in the Elite Eight that year. Auburn has only traveled to the West Coast on three occasions for the NCAA Tournament (1988, 1989, 1996).

Opening Round Success
Auburn has won 15 consecutive opening round games and is 15-1 all-time in first round games at the NCAA Tournament. The last time Auburn lost an opening round game was in 1982; its first trip to the Big Dance. The Tigers fell 75-64 to Cheyney State on its home court.

Up Next The winner of this game will play the winner of third-seeded California and 14th-seeded San Diego on Monday. The Golden Bears and Toreros play Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. The winner of the Auburn vs. George Washington game will practice from 12-1:30 p.m. PT on Sunday and will have a press conference from 1:50-2:20 p.m. PT.