Dec. 21, 2012
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AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (9-2) will play its last game before the Holiday break Saturday as the Tigers host Jacksonville (4-6) at 2 p.m. CT, at Auburn Arena. It is Lower Level Youth Special Day as youth ages 12 and under will receive free admission with a paid adult.
Auburn is off to its best start in four years and carries a pair of streaks into Saturday's game. The Tigers are on a six-game winning streak, the team's longest since winning six in a row during the 2009-10 season. Auburn has also won its last seven home games (the final two home games of last season and all five so far this season), marking the longest home winning streak for the team since winning 15 in a row from March 2, 2008 until Nov. 19, 2009.
The Tigers are coming off a 53-40 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga on Wednesday. The loss was just the second of the season for the Lady Mocs, a team that had already defeated Southeastern Conference members Tennessee and Alabama.
"I thought our team played really well, we jumped out on them right at the beginning and our kids really upped the tempo on our press a little bit," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "I thought it was going to be a little bit tough to try to trap them and get them to turn the ball over because their press offense was really spread out, but I thought our kids did a really good job of timing and knowing when to go trap."
A big part of the victory was the defensive play of junior Tyrese Tanner and sophomore Hasina Muhammad. Over the last four games, the duo has accounted for 30 steals.
"Both Ty and Hasina are long, lanky, athletic wings and when they extend, they are very hard to shoot over," said Williams-Flournoy. "I thought that gave UT-Chattanooga's 3-point shooters a tough look. It wasn't as clear when somebody is coming straight at you with a hand in your face. Hasina blocked their first 3 that was taken in the game, and that just kind of set the tone right there. Hasina did a really good job anticipating and getting those steals. Some of her steals come from Ty's aggressiveness at the top of the press."
Jacksonville sits at 4-6 on the season entering its last game of nonconference play. The Dolphins are led by head coach Jill Dunn who is in her ninth season at Jacksonville. Auburn is the third opponent of the season from the state of Alabama for the Dolphins. JU won at Jacksonville State, 72-69, on Nov. 25, but lost at home in overtime to Troy, 88-83, its last time out on Monday.
Junior forward Jade Cargill leads Jacksonville in scoring with 12.6 points per game and almost averages a double-double, adding 9.5 rebounds per game. She is also the team's leader in steals with 2.3 per game.
Senior forward Tracie Sneed adds 11.5 points per game, while shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
"With Jacksonville, really it is five guards you are going against," said Williams-Flournoy. "They all can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket, which for us sometimes becomes somewhat of a challenge trying to defend that penetration. We are really going to have to get down in a stance. We can't be on our heels falling back because they are really going to attack us off the balance.
"They are a pretty good team and they are scoring a lot of points. I think they are averaging almost 68 points a game, so they are putting some points on the board. They have about three kids in double figures and very close to almost having four or five."
Three Tigers are averaging double figures, led by Hasina Muhammad with 16.6 per game, including four 20-point games after her first career double-double at GW. Tyrese Tanner is at 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while Blanche Alverson comes in with 11.5 points and 5.9 boards per game.
Center Peyton Davis leads the team in the post, averaging 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Najat Ouardad is tops in the SEC and 17th in the country in assists with 6.0 per game while scoring 5.5 points per game.
Doors will open at Auburn Arena at 12:30 p.m. CT, Saturday. Fans 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.