Oct. 14, 2013
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn women’s basketball players showed off their skills. They signed autographs and chatted with fans. It was Fun Fan Day at Auburn Arena, a chance for fans to meet the players and coaches.
For six freshmen and two junior college transfers, it was a new experience.
“It was really fun,” said junior guard Kiani Parker. “It was nice to mingle with people and get to know people and have our fans come out.”
For second-year head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, it was fun, too. Even the scrimmage was light-hearted, and it’s not Williams-Flournoy’s way to take any practice lightly.
“It was good,” Williams-Flournoy said. “It’s a lot of fun. Anything we can do for our fans and to let them hang out with our players is really wonderful.”
And she saw some things to like in the short scrimmage.
“You want to just see if they are doing the things we’ve taught them, if they are implementing the offensive sets, how they look defensively in our press,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I was pleased with the things they did correctly. It was good to see. We had a few players that looked really good.”
Williams-Flournoy said she has been pleased with the way her team has worked in preseason practice, but she’s had to caution even herself to be patient.
“We are learning a lot of patience,” she said. “We’re not able to put in as much stuff as we’d like to put in. We have to see what they are good it, and that’s what we’ll run with.”
Senior forward Tyrese Tanner, Williams-Flournoy said, has been the best performer on the court and best leader on and off the court. Tanner, the Tigers’ leading returning scorer, has moved from the perimeter to the inside.
Every other position, Williams-Flournoy said, is wide-open. Parker, who was signed as a combo guard, continues to run with the first team at point guard.
“Tyrese Tanner is always going to be Tyrese Tanner,” Williams-Flournoy said. “She stands out above the rest. Both (freshmen) Katie Ferking and Brandy Montgomery, I thought, played extremely well today. Tra’Cee (Tanner) played well today.”
A year ago, Williams-Flournoy was a new coach bringing a new style of play to a veteran team. And now she’s working with a roster that has as many newcomers as it does veterans.
“There is a difference when you have veteran players that have played Division I basketball,” she said. “They already understand the level. When you bring in freshmen and junior college players, they don’t really understand. Everybody was a superstar on their team.”
Tyrese Tanner is locked in as the starter at power forward. Williams-Flournoy says she’s encouraged by the progress she has seen, but every other position remains wide open.
Parker, a transfer from Northwest Florida State College, continues to play with the first team at point guard.
“They recruited me as a combo guard, but when I got here they told me I was a point,” Parker said. “I’ve improved a lot in the short time I’ve been here.”
She sees others improve, too, as they have adapted to Williams-Flournoy’s demanding running and pressing style.
“It’s tough here, but we’ve really gelled together,” Parker said. “I think we are going to be good.”
The Tigers open their season at Georgia Southern on Nov. 9 at Auburn Arena.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: