Nov. 7, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - Less than a week away from the start of the 2013-14 basketball season, AuburnTigers.com is taking a position-by-position preview of the Tigers' squad. This week, we look at Auburn's point guards.
After having Najat Ouardad at the point the last two years, Auburn will have a new look for the 2013-14 season. Head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy announced this week that junior Kiani Parker (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.), a transfer from Northwest Florida State College, will most likely get the start in the season opener. Originally recruited as a wing, Williams-Flournoy hopes that Parker can head up the squad while freshmen Allina Starr (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Meagan Tucker (Covington, Ga.) continue to develop.
"Right now Kiani Parker will be our starting point guard," said Williams-Flournoy. "The bad thing about it is that she is really not a point guard, that's not really what we recruited her for but she has bought into the role of being a point guard. It is nice to have her there until we get the freshman ready because I want to move her back to the two-guard spot."
Parker averaged 11.0 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game last season at Northwest Florida State, leading the team to the NJCAA national quarterfinals and a 26-5 record. She was named to the Panhandle Conference First Team and All-State first team last season.
"Kiani did a really good job conditioning and for us, conditioning is key because the way we play you have to be able to play both ends," said Williams-Flournoy. "So, if you can condition yourself to do both, you look a lot better. That's what Kiani has been able to do. She has to work on her left a little bit as well as her confidence with shooting, but I think she'll be just fine. It's just a matter of getting in and putting in the time and effort into it."
The first of Auburn's two freshman point guards, Starr comes to the Tigers from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minn. While there, she led the team to three straight state championships and was named All-Conference, All-Metro and All-State as a senior. She averaged 18.9 points and 9.1 assists per game as a senior.
"Allina Starr gives us a bigger point guard. She is almost 5-10, a big strong point guard," said Williams-Flournoy. "That allows us to run some different offensive sets that we can put on a block and post her up a bit. For her it's definitely an adjustment, both her and Meagan Tucker. It's just tough being a point guard on this team. They've never really been asked to do so much on the defensive end then come right back on the offense and run your team and know where everybody else is going."
Rounding out the trio is Tucker, who comes to Auburn from Alcovy High School in Covington, Ga. Ranked as the No. 28 point guard in the country last year, she averaged 16.0 points and 4.0 assists per game, earning honorable mention All-State honors.
"Meagan is really a solid point guard: she is not going to do a whole lot, just run the team," said Williams-Flournoy. "She's a lefty and that gives us a little different look. I think for us right now, Meagan can be like our comforter. She's going to come in and relax the team, she's not going to push it as much in transition, but she's going to come in and run the offense."
The Tigers return three starters and five letterwinners from last season's team that went 19-15 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's NIT in Williams-Flournoy's first season as head coach. Auburn welcomes eight newcomers for the 2013-14 season.
The Tigers will open the season on Saturday, Nov. 9 as Auburn hosts Georgia Southern at 6 p.m. CT, at Auburn Arena. The Tigers will play a 14-game home schedule this year with games against Tulane, St. John's, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Georgia and in-state rival Alabama.
Season tickets are on sale now with packages starting as low as $50. New for the season, fans can purchase the Auburn Women's Basketball Flex Pack. The Flex Pack offers fans the opportunity to purchase six games of their choice for $24. Flex Packs went on sale on Oct. 21 and single-game tickets will go on sale on Nov. 4. For more information on tickets, go to AUBTix.com or call 1-855-282-2010.