No. 20 Women's Basketball Prepares For Sunday Showdown With No. 17 Ohio State
Nov. 22, 2008
AUBURN - The No. 20 Auburn women's basketball team (3-0) returns home Sunday for its first game against a ranked opponent as the Tigers take on No. 17 Ohio State (3-0). Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. at the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.
"It's going to be a great rematch of a game we had last year," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We went to their tournament and beat them a year ago and they will want to return the favor."
Auburn downed Ohio State 67-58 last season in Columbus, Ohio, playing in the second game of the Buckeye Classic. The meeting last season was the only time Auburn and Ohio State have played each other.
The Buckeyes are led by Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Jantel Lavender. She comes into the game averaging 23.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.
"She (Lavender) is a very hard player to guard and only a sophomore, she has tremendous game and we will be very challenged with that," said Fortner. "They have a freshman point guard, Samantha Prahalis, who is really pushing the tempo for Ohio State this year. They get up and down the court very well. They're a very up-tempo team and it's going to be a great game between two teams that are very hungry to continue winning."
Lavender will be countered on the Auburn side by the SEC Preseason Player of the Year DeWanna Bonner. She enters Sunday's game averaging 21.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
The game is Auburn's first against a ranked team this season and only its second home game of the year. The Tigers have been on the road for two of its first three games of the year, picking up victories at Alabama A&M and Georgia Southern. Auburn also picked up the win in its home game against Temple.
Ohio State has played exclusively at home, leading up to its meeting with Auburn. The Buckeyes enter the game with home wins over Butler, Army and Syracuse.
Sunday's game will also feature the Auburn women's basketball team dropping its NCAA Tournament banner from last season. The Tigers went 20-12 during its 2007-08 campaign, making their first NCAA Tournament since 2004.
Tickets are still available for Sunday's game against the Buckeyes, as well as women's basketball season tickets. Individual packages are $50, while the family plan, which includes four tickets, is $150. Regular season-single game tickets are $5 and Auburn students are allowed in for free. Groups of 20 or more can purchase in advance for a discounted price of $2 per ticket. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. for Sunday's game.
For more information, please call the Athletic Department ticket office at 1-800-AUB-1957 or visit www.auburntigers.com.
For fans that cannot make it to the game GameTracker will be available at www.AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WZMA 96.7 FM with play-by-play from Brad Law and color commentary from Arnika Edwards. An audio Webcast will also be available at www.AuburnTigers.com.
DROPPING THE BANNER
Auburn is playing at home for just the second time this season, defeating Temple 95-76 in the home opener. The Tigers hold an 18-3 record in non-conference home games under head coach Nell Fortner.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes are under the direction of seventh-year head coach Jim Foster. He sports a 155-41 record during his time at OSU, along with a 659-266 career mark. Ohio State was picked to finish first in the league this year in the media poll and second in the coaches poll. Sophomore center Jantel Lavender was picked as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by both the media and the coaches.
Leading the team so far this season is Lavender with her 23.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. She is one of three Buckeyes averaging double-digit points, followed by Samantha Prahalis (13.3) and Star Allen (10.0). Prahalis is also the team's top three-point shooter, hitting 6-of-12 attempts so far this season.
Ohio State has 54 team turnovers, compared to 47 assists, and averages 7.7 steals along with 5.0 blocks per game.
The matchup against Auburn will be the first road game of the season for the Buckeyes after they opened with three straight home games against Butler, Army and Syracuse.
AUBURN-OHIO STATE SERIES
LAST TIME VS. OHIO STATE
Hobbs had 13 points in the first half as the Tigers built the lead to 16 before the Buckeyes rallied to trail 40-30 at the break. Jantel Lavender scored 16 of her 22 points in the second half for Ohio State. The Buckeyes pulled to 63-55 with 3:50 to play, but Boddie put back an uncontested rebound after Trevesha Jackson missed both free throws to put an end to Ohio State's comeback bid.
Auburn was 18-of-32 (56.3 percent) from the field in the first half, but just eight of 28 in the second. They were able to maintain the lead by making 10 of 17 free throws in the final 20 minutes. Ohio State was averaging 80.2 points per game but missed all 10 of its 3-point attempts and committed 14 turnovers to 12 for the Tigers.
Nell Fortner VS. JIM FOSTER
LAST TIME OUT FOR AUBURN
Sophomore Alli Smalley led Auburn with 18 points, 12 of which came in the second half, and four steals. Senior DeWanna Bonner followed with 11 points and freshman Chantel Hilliard rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10. Freshman Parrisha Simmons was the only Tiger to go scoreless in the game, but led Auburn in rebounding with seven.
Georgia Southern kept the game close in the first half, cutting the Tiger lead to two at the 2:25 mark. AU finished the half on an 8-1 run to take a 36-27 lead into the locker room. After making adjustments at halftime, Auburn tore out on an 18-5 run to open the second period thanks to 10 points, including two three-pointers from Smalley. Auburn fed off Smalley from there, rolling over the Eagles by a 35-18 margin in the second half en route to the 71-45 win.
LAST TIME OUT FOR OHIO STATE
NEXT UP FOR THE TIGERS
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