Dec. 18, 2012
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AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (8-2) will get one of its biggest tests of the season Wednesday as the Tigers host Tennessee-Chattanooga (8-1) at 6 p.m., at Auburn Arena. The Tigers will put their five-game winning streak up against the one-loss Lady Mocs, a team that has already downed two Southeastern Conference teams.
Auburn enters the game after a dominating 71-49 victory over Temple on Sunday. After surrendering big leads in the two games prior to Temple, the Tigers were able to take a lead and build against the Owls, pulling off the 22-point win.
"I thought it was really good for our players, it was good for them to beat Temple after hearing so much about Temple beating them," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "We needed to get a lead and keep it. I thought in the Hofstra and GW games we became a little complacent. It wasn't as aggressive as we were in the first half. That is something we wanted to maintain this time."
A by-product of the two big wins was a big honor for sophomore Hasina Muhammad as she was named the SEC Player of the Week for the first time in her career. She averaged 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 steals and 2.5 blocks per game over the two games to earn the honor.
"Hasina had a great week, the honor was well deserved and she played really well," said Williams-Flournoy. "She had good all-around games at George Washington and against Temple. It just wasn't her offense because she had steals and she had rebounds. It was well deserved."
Riding the five-game winning streak, Auburn continues its five-game homestand against the Lady Mocs.Tennessee-Chattanooga is a veteran team that returns nine players, including three starters, from last season's team that went 22-10 and played in the WNIT.
UT-Chattanooga is having a great year so far, off to an 8-1 start with a pair of wins over SEC teams. The Lady Mocs beat Tennessee, 80-71, in the season-opener for both teams and won at Alabama, 72-58, on Dec. 8.
The lone loss of the season came at Saint Mary's (Calif.), 70-67, in the championship game of the St. Mary's College Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 24.
"UTC is a very veteran team, their top six or seven are either junior or seniors and they know the system," said Williams-Flournoy. "They are great 3-point shooters and they play extremely well together. They are well coached and they don't panic under any pressure, because of their veteran players. There isn't any situation that they have not been in before."
The Lady Mocs have three players averaging double figures with Ashlen Dewart leading the team with 15.7 points per game. Kayla Christopher is right behind her with 12.9 points per game and leads the team with 20 3-pointers on the season. Also in double figures is Taylor Hall with 10.8 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game.
"UT-Chattanooga's point guard is really good, she is a steady point guard and she is going to run the team. Kylie Lambert is a great shooter as is Kayla Christopher," said Williams-Flournoy. "Honestly and unfortunately, they have a lot of players that we have to be able to contain on Wednesday. They have a good post player in Ashlen Dewart who is a big body and takes up a lot of space inside. We really have to take care of ourselves defensively because I think they will be able to handle the press a little bit."
Auburn is off to an 8-2 start through the first 10 games, the team's best start since opening the 2008-09 season 10-0. The Tigers are averaging a 22.3-point margin of victory in its eight wins. Three Tigers are averaging double figures, led by Muhammad with 16.4 per game, including four 20-point games after her first career double-double at GW. Tyrese Tanner is at 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while Blanche Alverson comes in with 11.6 points and a 5.5 boards per game.
Coming off her first career double-double, center Peyton Davis leads the team in rebounding with 6.0, along with 7.5 points per game. Najat Ouardad is tops in the SEC and 17th in the country in assists with 6.1 per game while scoring 5.6 points per game.
Doors will open at Auburn Arena at 4:30 p.m. CT, WednesdayFans can listen to the game on 96.7 FM in Auburn or on AuburnTigers.com with Andy Burcham and Stephanie Follett calling the action. GameTracker and a video Web stream will also be available on AuburnTigers.com.