Women's Basketball Set To Open Five-Game Homestand Sunday vs. Temple
Dec. 15, 2012
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (7-2) will try to get off to its best start in four years Sunday as the Tigers take on Temple (5-3). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CT, at Auburn Arena. The game is also the team's Toys for Tots drive with fans that donate a new, unwrapped toy at either of this weekend's games receiving free admission.
The Tigers are looking for their eighth win in the first 10 games of the season, something the team has not done since starting the 2008-09 season 10-0. Auburn has won its last four games with the last loss being to San Diego State at the Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo.
The Tigers are coming off a 69-59 win at George Washington on Wednesday. After taking the lead early in the first half, Auburn extended its lead to as many as 16, but had to hold off multiple GW runs late in the game for the win.
"I thought we did a really go job at George Washington," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, who earned the 150th win of her career at the game. "I thought we started the game with a lot of energy, forcing them into turnovers. I think we got a little complacent and kind of stepped back from our pressure and let them back into the game. George Washington played well though. They hit some big threes and they did some things that they needed to do to get back into the game."
Sophomore Hasina Muhammad and senior point guard Najat Ouardad each nearly had triple-doubles in the game. Muhammad set career highs with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine steals while Ouardad tallied 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
"Hasina played well, there were a few times where she could have attacked the basketball a little bit more, but she was getting some wide open steals," said Williams-Flournoy. "I thought she did a good job of protecting the middle and getting some easy steals, which were easy offensive possessions and that's what we try to get off of the live ball turnovers.
"Najat does a real good job of finding people in transition. I thought she did a really good job. She had nine rebounds and that's great for your point guard, but that means she's hustling - she's getting the 50/50 plays. She's running it down."
Auburn returns home for the first of five-straight home games against Temple, a team it has not had a lot of success against in recent years. Auburn leads the all-time series, 4-3, but the Owls are winners of the last three.
Temple is currently 5-3 on the season and is coming off a 71-62 loss to Kent State on the road. Victoria Macaulay leads the Owls in scoring with 16.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, along with 2.0 blocks per game. Tyonna Williams leads the team in assists with 4.4 per game while Sally Kabengano and Erica Covile lead the team in steals with 12.
"Victoria Macaulay is going to be a little tough for us to guard, she is just so athletic," said Williams-Flournoy. "She is long, she is lanky and she is not your typical type of post player. She can put it on the floor, she can shoot it and she gets to the glass, so it's going to be a really tough matchup for us. They have really good guards that look for her and penetrate and can find her. Temple also May Dayan that can shoot the 3, so they have a couple of areas that we're going to have to defend."
The Owls have been relentless on defense holding opponents to 34 percent shooting, which is third best in the Atlantic 10.
The Owls are also the second youngest team in Division I, with six of its 11 players being freshman. Temple is coached by fifth-year head coach Tonya Cardoza who is just two wins away from her 100th career win.
Temple is coming off a 23-10 season a year ago in which the Owls advanced to the third round of the WNIT.
With Auburn's next two games, against Temple and Tennessee-Chattanooga, being against teams with a combined 13-4 record, Williams-Flournoy is looking for the Auburn fans to come out energized and give the Tigers a big home-court advantage.
"We really need our fans out, because we have a tough game against Temple, and from what I have heard, we have not beaten them," said Williams-Flournoy. "So it would be nice to have our fans out here see us beat Temple, since they've beat us the last two years. On Wednesday with Chattanooga, they just beat Tennessee and they've had some good wins, and they're a really good team, so the fans are going to see some really good basketball if they come out and watch it."
Doors will open at Auburn Arena at 12:30 p.m. CT, Sunday. Toy donation boxes will be set up at both the main and scholarship entrances. Fans can listen to the game on 96.7 FM in Auburn or on AuburnTigers.com with Andy Burcham calling the action. GameTracker and a video Web stream will also be available on AuburnTigers.com.
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