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Young Tigers find chance with Auburn women's basketball
Oct. 18, 2014

Hasina Muhammad looks for Auburn's young players to help out

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Guard Hasina Muhammad laughs when she thinks of the five freshmen who have joined Auburn's women's basketball team.

"They're a little goofy," she says.

But she says they can play, will grow into productive players and will fit in nicely with Auburn's young team. The time may be now. The Tigers have worked in those five freshmen, plus the four sophomores, through the first two weeks of preseason practice.

"We've just got to get everybody in the grove of things, but everybody is coming around, learning the plays, the defense, the rotation. I think we'll be fine when the games come around," Muhammad said.

Auburn will be young, at least on the bench, with just two seniors, but returns four starters from a team that went 19-14 last season. The missing starter is Tyrese Tanner, who graduated after leading Auburn in scoring, at 17 points per game, and rebounding, at 6.3. She's the one that made everything go. Returning are Muhammad, Tra'Cee Tanner, Brady Montgomery and Kiani Parker.

"The biggest challenge," said coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, "is finding a leader."

And someone to replace Tanner on the court.

Another challenge is teaching the freshmen what's what before Auburn opens the season Nov. 14 against Troy in Auburn Arena.

"You have to repeat the same thing over and over again. But we're getting there," Williams-Flournoy said. "You see glimpses of them doing it right. Now, we've just got to get consistent. It's not perfect, it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be right. 

The freshmen, Williams-Flournoy said, are "in great shape."

"They're doing everything that we need them to do. But now we need to stop being robots. ...make a play."

Montgomery was a freshman last year. She averaged 11.4 points a game. She was in transition mode.

"Since I know how it was, I'm trying to help the freshmen learn as quickly as they can," he said. "I think all of them will be able to contribute in some way."

The freshmen are guards Bria Johnson and Neydija  Petithomme, and twins Jazmine Jones and Jessica Jones, both forwards, and forward Asia Robeson.

Muhammad could lead the way. She was second in the SEC with 64 steals last year and fourth in the league in blocks with 56 while averaging 9.3 points per game.  

"I think Hasina can be a big-time player for us this year. Unfortunately, she's still battling her injury," Williams-Flournoy said. "She's still trying to get through a stretch, trying to go a little bit longer on some of those possessions."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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