March 23, 2007
Auburn, Ala. -
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Auburn continued its journey to the WNIT Championship on Thursday with a 81-73 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Auburn shot 54.7 percent for the game which was the best field goal percentage in over a month. Three Tigers scored in double figures, led by DeWanna Bonner's 27 points.
The Tigers meet Kansas State for the first time in school history and look to end the Wildcats seven-game win streak in the WNIT. Auburn will look to Bonner, who leads the team with 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, to help them reach the "Final Four." Bonner looks to make history on Sunday by becoming the all-time leading sophomore rebounder as she lacks just five to secure the top spot.
Bonner is joined by Sherell Hobbs as the only two players scoring in double figures; S. Hobbs averages 11.4 points a game. In addition, S. Hobbs poses a threat on defense as she averages 1.8 steals a game. Whitney Boddie has also come alive in post-season play as she has averaged 11.0 points, 4.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
Adding to AU's defensive game is Jordan Greenleaf, who is five blocks shy of becoming the all-time leading freshman blocker. Greenleaf grabs 5.4 rebounds a game, while swatting 1.3 balls a contest.
The Tigers are shooting an improved 43.8 percent from the field and making a bettered 31.5 percent of its trey's. The Tigers outrebound its opponents by a 3.3 margin, while forcing 16.1 turnovers a game.
Scouting Kansas State
The 2006 WNIT Champion Kansas State Wildcats enter today's contest with a 18-14 record having defeated Southern Illinois, 72-46, in the second round and Illinois, 66-51, in the third round Thursday.
Kansas State is led offensively by Kimberly Dietz who averages 13.2 points per contest. In addition to Dietz, three other Wildcats average in double figures - Marlies Gipson (12.8), Second Team All-Big 12 Conference honoree Claire Coggins (12.6) and Big 12 All-Rookie Team member Ashley Sweat (10.5). Gipson has been injured since the Jan. 13 game and is not expected to return to the lineup.
Also adding to the Wildcats offensive game is Shalee Lehning, who averages 5.0 assists per game; good enough for 34th in the nation. Since the injury to Gipson, Lehning has been the leader defensively, notching 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Kansas State is 12-5 in Bramlage Coliseum, compared to 4-7 in away contests. Since the 2001-02 season, the Wildcats have only dropped 13 games at home. Kansas State is shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats hold a 5.7 scoring advantage over its opponents, but have been outrebounded by a 1.3 margin this year.
The Wildcats are led by Deb Patterson, the all-time winningest coach in Kansas State history.
Auburn Makes Second Trip Ever to WNIT
Auburn has made just one trip to the WNIT in the tournaments nine year history. The Tigers went on a 5-0 run in 2003 and were crowned WNIT Champions. Auburn defeated Baylor, 64-63, in Waco, Texas, for the title. The Tigers hosted the first three rounds of the WNIT and defeated South Alabama (77-53), Florida State (68-57) and Richmond (59-53). Auburn traveled to Omaha, Neb., for the semifinal versus Creighton where Auburn prevailed, 73-62.
Auburn vs. Big 12
The Tigers have had success against Big 12 opponents. Auburn is 8-2 all-time versus current Big 12 teams. The only losses Auburn has suffered to Big 12 opponents have been to Iowa State (Dec. 28, 2001) and Texas Tech (Dec. 14, 1994).
The WNIT Field
Auburn is 7-3 versus the the teams remaining in the WNIT field. All three losses came at the hands of Virginia. The starting field of 48 teams in the WNIT featured 17 teams with 20 or more victories (coming into the tourney).