No. 15 Women's Basketball Set To Open FIU Thanksgiving Classic Against North Carolina State
Nov. 28, 2008
MIAMI - The No. 15-ranked Auburn women's basketball team returns to the court this weekend in the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic in Miami, Fla. The Tigers will play two games while in Miami, opening at 5 p.m. CT, Saturday against ACC-member North Carolina State and closing out the weekend at 1 p.m. CT, Sunday against host Florida International.
The tournament is a bit of a retreat for the team as the Tigers (5-0) are able to get away from Auburn for a few days over the Thanksgiving break.
"I love coming to Miami because it is gorgeous, the weather is great and we are staying in a very nice place," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "It is great to get the team away after the Thanksgiving holiday to some place nice and to get to play basketball is a bonus."
AU is coming off a 91-62 win over in-state rival UAB on Wednesday. Senior DeWanna Bonner led the second-half surge, after the game was tied 32-32 at halftime, to finish the game with 29 points en route to the win. Twenty of Bonner's 29 points came in the second half as she tied her season-high.
Florida International (0-4) and N.C. State (4-1) open the tournament against each other in a Friday night game. The Wolfpack will continue on Saturday against the Tigers while FIU will close out its tournament against Auburn on Sunday.
Against North Carolina State, Auburn will take on one of the most storied women's basketball programs in the country, led by legendary head coach Kay Yow. The meeting will be the first between Fortner and Yow and the second all-time between Auburn and N.C. State. AU holds the series advantage, 1-0.
"North Carolina State is such a storied program and I have so much respect for their coach, Kay Yow, and what she has accomplished in her career," said Fortner. "Her battle through cancer has inspired a nation in supporting research for breast cancer and encouraged people to increase the awareness about it. She is such an inspirational coach and I'm honored to get to coach against her."
The Wolfpack enters with only one loss on its record, coming at the hands of Yale, 65-61, at the Subway Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota. The four wins have come against Milwaukee, Charlotte, Elon and American.
"They are a very athletic, fast team that rebounds very well," said Fortner. "They play good sound, fundamental basketball with man-to-man defense and some really nice offensive sets and we are going to have to be prepared to play them."
The FIU Thanksgiving Classic is in its 14th year of existence, but it will be the first time for Auburn to compete in the tournament. The Tigers are also just the third SEC team ever to play in the tournament. All Thanksgiving Classic games will be played in the FIU Arena.
For more information on the tournament, access www.FIUSports.com.
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