By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - The real Auburn women's basketball team won't come together until the Tigers go to Las Vegas for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout on Dec. 29. That's when preseason All-Southeastern guard Hassina Muhammad will return.
But second-year coach Terri Williams-Flournoy's team will be almost at full strength Saturday when it goes on the road for the first time to play Temple. Tipoff time is set for 5 p.m.
Senior forward Tyrese Tanner, the team's leading scorer the past two seasons, sat out Wednesday's 66-49 win over Jacksonville State with a sore knee after scoring 17 points in a season-opening 69-59 win over Georgia Southern. She'll at 4 position on the inside.
"It will be huge," Williams-Flournoy said. "It gives you some experience and leadership out on the floor for a home game. If you think the freshmen are nervous at home, you should see how they could be on the road. We are excited to have Tyrese back."
Meanwhile, Muhammad can only wait.
"She's dealing with it," Williams-Flournoy said. "We talk every day. She comes to see me. We talk on the phone. She's a really, really good kid."
Auburn will take eight newcomers - six freshman and two junior college transfers - to Temple. Two freshmen - guards Katie Frerking and Brandy Montgomery - will be in the starting lineup, along with junior college transfer point guard Kiani Parker. Montgomery scored 15 points against Jacksonville State in her first college game. Frerking averages 6 points per game.
"It's going to be very interesting to take these young ones on the road for our first away game, which is Temple's first home game," Williams-Flournoy said. "It's going to be quite a different mixture. We are excited and ready to play again."
Temple, 2-0 with road wins over La Salle and Delaware, will be a major test for Auburn's young players, still trying to learn their way.
Meanwhile, the Tigers will lead on Tanner, senior center Peyton Davis and sophomores Tra'Cee Tanner and Cabriana Capers to show the way.
Davis is averaging 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Tra'Cee Tanner is averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: