June 6, 2013
By Toi Garcia
Coming off the team's best season in four years, the Auburn women's basketball team took a short break but was quickly back to work, preparing for the 2013-14 season.
"We had a few loses back to back, which might have put us down, but in the end we set the bar and it made us want to work harder in the summer," said Hasina Muhammad, a rising junior guard on the team. Muhammad was second on the team last season with 14.0 points per game.
After a 13-3 start to the 2012-13 season, the Tigers hit a rough patch that included eight straight losses. Auburn, however, rebounded from the stretch and closed out the season with enough momentum to make the Women's NIT, advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Tigers lost six players from last season's team either because they graduated or transferred. Seven new players, five incoming freshmen and two junior college transfers, will join the remaining six players later this summer for the second mini-mester. Of the six returning players from last season, four finished the season among the top five on the team in scoring.
"We will be fighting for spots, which will be good for us after we learn to compete with each other," said Peyton Davis, a rising senior center on the team who averaged 6.1 points and 4.9 rebounds last season.
With the new additions and the excitement around the second year of the Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy Era, competition and energy around the team's summer workouts has increased.
Summer workouts are where the pre-season training begins, and the team is taking huge strides to make a difference for the upcoming season. As for the veterans, most of them are here for the entire summer.
"We want to be here, it gives us a chance to improve," said Tyrese Tanner, a rising senior and guard/forward on the team. Tanner started all 34 games last season for the Tigers, leading the team in scoring with 14.2 points per game.
Tanner, who will be one of two seniors on the team next year, realizes the value of the summer workouts, both from a strength and conditioning standpoint and a bonding experience with the newcomers.
"It gives us more time to prepare," said Tanner. "There will also be a greater bond created which will allow us to flow right into next season. I'm excited for the newcomers to get here and to see what they can do."
In the summer, the team does weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are spent doing conditioning work, either at the football fields of the track.
"Right now we're trying to build a base that'll last through the season," Davis said. "A big part of Coach Flo's system is going full-speed for 40 minutes and we have to be ready to play that way."
It's crucial to maintain strength and conditioning during the off-season and the summer. The team enforces the motto "40 minutes," meaning they need to be able to press and play for 40 minutes straight, and what they are practicing right now is increasing their strength and endurance.
"Last year, we were not in as good a shape as we needed to be," said Muhammad. "We've had a year under Coach Flo now and we know what to expect. During the summer, it is on us to get out here and get better every day to make sure we can play at that level when the season starts."