No. 14 Women's Basketball Set To Host Sam Houston State At 6 p.m., Friday
Dec. 4, 2008
AUBURN - The No. 14 Auburn women's basketball team will play its last home game of the calendar year Friday as the Tigers (8-0) host Sam Houston State (1-5) at the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT with the doors opening at 4:30 p.m.
It will be "Toys for Tots Night" at the game against the Bearkats as fans will receive free admission by donating a new, unwrapped toy.
The game is the final home game of 2008 for the nationally-ranked Tigers. Auburn will hit the road for its five games, returning home on Jan. 3, 2009 to take on Stephen F. Austin at 2 p.m. The game will be the first of a doubleheader with the men's team following at 5 p.m. against Tulane.
Auburn is coming off a 95-74 win over North Carolina A&T Wednesday night, a victory that improved the Tigers to 8-0 for the 13th time in the team's history. Senior DeWanna Bonner led a pack of four Tigers that finished in double digit scoring with 26 points. She was joined by fellow seniors Trevesha Jackson and Sherell Hobbs with 16 points each, and Whitney Boddie with 10.
Sam Houston State is 1-5 on the season with the lone win coming in an 83-80 victory over Centenary. The Bearkats have lost their last three games by an average of 16 points, including a 76-63 loss to Fresno State last weekend at the Southern Methodist Tournament.
"Sam Houston State is playing really well as a team, it does not show in their record, but with them averaging nearly 20 assists per game, they are playing really well as a team," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner.
"They have some new faces from last season, some freshman, and over time they will be able to put some things together. We just have to be prepared and not overlook them."
Auburn met Sam Houston State for the first time in its history last season, taking an 80-36 win at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville, Texas. Bonner led the Tigers with 24 points in only 21 minutes of play in the win.
Leading SHSUso far this season is junior Brittany Brooks with her 9.8 points per game. Not far behind her is freshman Khamra Echols with 9.3 points per game and 3.3 assists per game. Echols has two of SHSU's three 20-point games this season, putting up 22 vs. Southern Miss and 21 against Centenary.
Senior Lydia Gonzalez, who averages 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, has the other 20-point game as she tallied 22 last Saturday against Fresno State. The Bearkats' top rebounder is junior Whitney Smith with her 6.5 per outing.
Auburn is 3-0 at home so far this season, averaging 92.3 points per game on its home court with an average margin of victory of 15.7 points. Sam Houston State comes into the game with a 0-3 road record.
Tickets are still available for Friday's game against the Bearkats, 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 4:30 p.m. for Friday'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 WMXA 96.7 FM with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards. Audio and video Webcasts will also be available at www.AuburnTigers.com.
Sophomore guard Alli Smalley and Bonner are coming off a hot week. Smalley averaged 12.7 points in the three games last week, including a 21-point effort agaisnt FIU to earn MVP honors at the FIU Thanksgiving Classic. Bonner put up a 29-point night at UAB, including 20 second-half points, to lead Auburn to the 91-62 victory over the Blazers. On the week, she averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
SCOUTING SAM HOUSTON STATE
The Bearkats are 1-5 so far this season with the lone win coming in an 83-80 decision at home against Centenary. Whitney Smith picked up Sam Houston State's lone double-double of the season in the win, posting 17 points and 11 rebounds. SHSU has struggled to stay in games against its other five opponents, losing by 12 to Southern Mississippi, 29 to Arkansas-Little Rock, 14 to TCU, 21 to SMU and 13 to Fresno State. SHSU has taken six days off since its last game, against Fresno State, to prepare for Friday's game against the Tigers.
Leading the team so far this season is junior Brittany Brooks with her 9.8 points per game. Not far behind her is freshman Khamra Echols with 9.3 points per game and 3.3 assists per game. Echols has two of SHSU's three 20-point games this season, putting up 22 vs. Southern Miss and 21 against Centenary. Senior Lydia Gonzalez, who averages 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, has the other 20-point game as she tallied 22 last Saturday against Fresno State. The Bearkats' top rebounder is junior Whitney Smith with her 6.5 per outing.
As a team, SHSU is shooting 38.9 percent from the field, including 30.2 percent from beyond the arc. They average being beat by 14.3 points per game and out-rebounded by 9.0 rebounds per game.
AUBURN-SAM HOUSTON STATE SERIES
LAST TIME VS. SAM HOUSTON STATE
The Tigers scored 28 points off Sam Houston State turnovers and outscored the Bearkats 44-10 in the paint.
Auburn shot 58 percent from the field to Sam Houston State's 24 percent. The Tigers also out-rebounded the Bearkats, 44-23, in the win.
The Bearkats took their only lead at the 5-4 mark of the game, but Auburn followed with a 26-8 run to build a 17-point lead with five minutes left in the first half. AU went into the locker room at halftime with a 34-16 advantage. A 13-2 run to open the second half built the lead to 29 as Auburn would go on to take the 44-point win, 80-36.
Nell Fortner VS. BRENDA WELCH-WILLIAMS
LAST TIME OUT FOR SAM HOUSTON STATE
Sam Houston led 34-30 at halftime and were up seven points, 43-36 on a basket by Gonzales with 16:27 to play. Fresno State came roaring back, going on a 22-2 run to build a 58-45 lead. The Bulldogs ended up outscoring the Bearkats 46-29 in the second period.
Brittany Brooks added 11 points for Sam Houston. The Bearkats shot .446 from the field, hitting 29-of-65 including 3-of-13 three point attempts. Fresno State bounced back from .357 percent shooting in the first half to hit .419 for the game 26-of-62. Fresno State out-rebounded the Bearkats 50 to 29.
Other scoring for Sam Houston included Therese Hager and Khamra Echols each with six points and Leasa Ailshie and Britni Martin with five apiece. Hager led the Bearkats with eight rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT FOR AUBURN
North Carolina A&M jumped to a quick 10-3 lead just 1:24 into the first half and held the lead until the 12:42 mark when a jumper from Bonner tied the game at 18-18. The Tigers battled out the remainder of a first half that saw the score tied on five occasions with three lead changes. With 2:50 left in the first half, a three-point play on a layup and a free throw from Bonner put Auburn ahead for good, making the score 39-37. The Tigers took a 45-42 lead into the locker room on 19-of-36 from the field and 17 points from Bonner.
After the break, Auburn opened up a quick 11-point lead and never allowed the Aggies back within eight. As the half wore on, so grew an Auburn lead that peaked at the 1:48 mark with a 24-point Auburn advantage. The Tigers converted eight second-half Aggie turnovers into 16 points.
NEXT UP FOR THE TIGERS
AGAINST THE SOUTHLAND
PROTECT THIS HOUSE
AU defeated Temple, 95-76, in its home opener and followed up with an 87-80 overtime victory over then-No. 17 Ohio State. Most recently, Auburn downed North Carolina A&T, 95-74.
OUTSIDE THE LEAGUE
8-0 AND COUNTING
HANDING OUT LOSSES
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS NO. 100
AGAINST THE RANKED
GETTING THEIR SECOND WIND
On three occasions, the Tigers have turned a narrow or non-existant halftime lead into a blowout. Against Temple, AU was up by three at the break, but eneded with a 19-point victory. A halftime tie at UAB resulted in a 29-point Tiger win and a three-point advantage over North Carolina A&T at the half resulted in a 21-point victory. In all, Auburn has scored 339 second-half points, compared to 252 from its opponents.
IN THE RANKINGS
LIGHTING UP THE BOARD
Auburn put up 95 points again at home on Dec. 3, downing North Carolina A&T, 95-74. The 95 points are tied for the second-most scored in the Nell Fortner era, coming in behind a 99-point effort last season against Colgate (Dec. 5, 2007) and tied with a 95-point outing vs. Western Michigan (Nov. 25, 2006).
CHASING THE RECORD
Making postseason play would make the feat easier as the average drops almost an entire point per game for each SEC or NCAA Tournament game the Tigers play.
AUBURN VS. THE STATE
OFFENSE WINS GAMES
TALLYING THE POINTS
It marks just the 13th season since 1971 for Auburn to put up at least four 90-point games. The most for Auburn in a single season is 14 games, coming during the 1986-87 season.
Alli Smalley is the league's best three-point shooter, knocking down 47.6 percent of her attempts. She is currently second in the SEC in three-pointers per game with 20, trailing Vanderbilt's Meredith Marsh by one.
LAST OF THE UNBEATEN
GETTING FREE BASKETBALL
It is the first overtime game since defeating James Madison, 79-76, at the Miami Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28, 2006 and the first home overtime game since defeating Tulane, 75-64, on Jan. 5, 2002. Head coach Nell Fortner is now 2-2 all-time at Auburn in overtime games.
JOIN THE CLUB
Bonner is also one of only four Auburn players ever to post 1,500 points and 750 rebounds in their careers. The others are Becky Jackson, Vickie Orr and Marianna Merritt. Orr was the last Tiger to make both lists, finishing her Auburn career in 1989.
Fellow senior Sherell Hobbs joined an exclusinve club of her own as she logged the 1,000th point of her career at Georgia Southern. She is one of only 24 Auburn players ever to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Three current Tigers are also ranked among the most prolific theifs all-time at Auburn. Sherell Hobbs ranks eighth with 189 career steals while DeWanna Bonner has 169, sitting one steal shy of the top 10. Whitney Boddie is chasing down the list as well with 135 steals, needing 35 more to make the list.
It marks the sixth time ever for two 1,000-point scorers to be in the same class. The others are Debra Larkin & Brenda Hill (Class of 1985), Mae Ola Bolton & Sharon Stewart (Class of 1988), Vickie Orr & Ruthie Bolton (Class of 1989), Monique Morehouse & Samantha Williams (Class of 1996) and Conswella Sparrow & Tiffany Krantz (Class of 2000).
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