Oct. 16, 2013
Tyrese Tanner can do big things, says coach Terri Williams-Flournoy at SEC Media Days (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy asked forward Tyrese Tanner to take more shots and be more aggressive in the Women's National Invitation Tournament at the end of last season.
What does Williams-Flournoy expect of her this season?
Tanner got hot at the end of the season, scoring 29, 24, 25 and 16 points in consecutive games as the Tigers made a nice run in the WNIT. Now, with eight new players. Williams-Flournoy said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday that she is looking for Tanner to lead again.
"I told her that averaging maybe 14 points a game was good for her last year, but it won’t fly for her this year," Williams-Flournoy said. "Not only do we need more points, we need more rebounds and I need her to change positions. And, you know, Tyrese, with a smile on her face, she just said, 'OK.'"
Auburn finished 19-15 last season, the most wins in four years. The success in the WNIT may give Auburn momentum heading into its season-opener against Georgia Southern on Nov. 9.
Auburn returns six players and Tanner said she welcomes the six freshmen and two junior college transfers.
"Last year was pretty tough with some of us playing 36 to 38 minutes per game," Tanner said. "And now with the newcomers and some coming back, it gives us depth to the bench and a lot of subs for us to keep pressing for those 40 minutes."
Pressing is Williams-Flournoy's style. But preseason practice has been a bit slower.
"It's a lot of teaching and a lot of patience. It’s a lot of stopping practice and explaining," she said. "Right now, we look very young and very slow and just going through the motions. They’re just doing everything we ask them to do and not understanding why."
Tanner understands. Now, anyway.
"I told Tyrese when we started preseason conditioning that she was just making her times. I told her you can’t just make your times, you have to be better than everybody else," Williams-Flournoy said. "If you have to get in at 26, you need to get in at 24. I think, once you set the tone, you can become the leader that we need you to be because they can’t say 'well you’re not doing it.' Tyrese understands that she can say whatever she wants to this team and be the leader."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine