Dec. 1, 2011
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AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (5-1) heads north for just its second road game of the season to take on the Temple Owls (2-5) in Philadelphia, Pa., Saturday. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. CT from the Liacouras Center.
The Tigers utilized a three-game home stand to pick up three-consecutive wins after dropping their first road game to Duke and now sit at 5-1 going into the second month of the season. Auburn Head Coach Nell Fortner has been pleased with how the team has competed recently and hopes to continue building on its progress on the road.
"I feel like we're getting to a point where we're really finding ourselves and who we are, and that's a good thing," Fortner said. "We are just right on the edge of really being who we're going to be, and it feels good to know that. I'm excited to see how we play on the road again.
"Duke was a tough test for us, and you have to be tough on the road, a lot tougher it seems like with how physical you are and how tough you are handling calls and the crowd noise and things like that. I'm anxious to get back out there and see what we can do."
Auburn is coming off a 74-47 win over Troy on Wednesday night, Auburn's fourth win by 20 or more points this season. The Tigers have relied heavily on the bench for quality minutes, and it rose to expectations once again against the Trojans. The bench posted 48 points in the win, including three players that notched a double-figure night.
Freshman Hasina Muhammad earned a career-high 19 points, and has now scored in double-figures in five of her six games as a Tiger. It marked the second-consecutive game in which the bench outscored Auburn's opponent.
"Hasina's playing really well right now and coming off the bench is suiting her," Fortner noted. "I think she gives us such a great punch, but so do about four other players also. Getting 48 points off your bench is nice. If we can keep that going, and keep the good rotations going, then I think we're headed for a good stretch."
Temple heads into the matchup with Auburn looking to end its five-game losing streak. The game also marks the Owls' first home game since opening the season with a win over Miami (Ohio).
Temple is coming off a 71-50 loss at Rutgers, the Owls' largest margin of defeat this season. Temple is currently averaging 60.3 points per game and shooting just 38.2 percent from the field, but have out-rebounded opponents through seven games averaging 36.7 rebounds per game.
Shey Peddy currently leads the Owls with 13.7 points and 17 steals. Kristen McCarthy leads the team with 7.0 rebounds and follows Peddy in points with 12.1. B.J. Williams tops the team's assists leaders with a total of 29 assists.
"We've been playing Temple for three or four years now, but they've beaten us the last two years, so we're looking forward to getting back up there and seeing what we can do against them," Fortner said. "They're a tough team. They're very athletic and fast, and they can spread you out good off the dribble."
This will be Auburn's final game before the team returns home for an 11-day break over the school's finals period. Fortner is looking for the Tigers to continue making strides to find an identity as a team and hopes to do so with a win before the break.
"It would be a really good road win because it's a tough environment to play in to have to travel that far to play it," Fortner said. "It's against a quality opponent who is very tough at home, and as far as our team goes, just continuing to improve as a team and just knowing who we are and where we're going to get our points from and always becoming a great defensive team."
The Tigers' lone loss this season has come at the hands of then-eighth-ranked Duke, but the five wins have come at an average of 72.2 points per game.
Through six games in 2011-12, freshman Muhammad leads the team in scoring with 11.3 points per game and is joined in double figures by sophomore Tyrese Tanner with 10.8. Five other Tigers are averaging at least 6.0 points per game, led by junior Blanche Alverson and sophomore Camille Glymph with 9.7 each. Senior Morgan Jennings leads the team with 5.0 assists per game and began the week ranked 32nd in the nation, while sophomore Jassany Williams is averaging 3.3 blocks per game and started the week off at No. 15 in the country.
For fans that cannot make it to the game, live stats will be available at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 96.7 FM and AuburnTigers.com with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards.