Dec. 28, 2012
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AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (10-2) will play its final non-conference game of the season at 2 p.m. CT, Saturday as the Tigers host in-state rival Samford (5-5) at Auburn Arena. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and it is Lower Level Youth Special Day with kids 12 and under getting free admission with a paid adult.
After beating Jacksonville 85-49 on Dec. 22, the Tigers got a break to go home for the holidays for a few days, but made their way back to The Plains on Dec. 26 for practice. Auburn has three practices now under its belt, preparing for the visiting Bulldogs.
"It has been your typical post-break practice," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "They went home, enjoyed Christmas, had a lot to eat, did not do any conditioning. So, we have to work some of the kinks out now."
Against Jacksonville, Auburn had four players in double figures with eight players scoring. The Tigers also shot 54.8 percent from the floor and got 35 points off the bench, the second-most bench points this season.
"It is good because when you can give your bench quality minutes and give them some confidence, it is only going to help us as we go into the SEC part of our season," said Williams-Flournoy. "The more players that we can get some kind of productivity out of will only benefit the team."
Samford comes to Auburn at 5-5 on the season, having lost three-straight. The Bulldogs are coached by Mike Morris, now in his 11th season as Samford's head coach. Morris has led Samford to six 20-win seasons.
Junior guard Shelby Campbell leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 10.2 points per game. Junior guard Kendall Schwantz leads the team beyond the arc shooting almost 39 percent from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs have had some success with ball protection, averaging just 14.6 turnovers per game, while creating 17.0 from opponents. Samford also averages seven treys per game, while holding opponents to just 2.9 3s per game.
Samford returns two starters and six letterwinners from last year's NCAA tournament team. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the Southern Conference and won the SoCon Tournament title, before being seeded 15th for their second-straight trip to NCAA Tournament. Samford finished its season with an 82-47 loss to two-seed Duke.
"Samford is a very good, well-disciplined team and at some point, all five starters can shoot the 3, which becomes extremely hard to guard," said Williams-Flournoy. "When you have a true center like we have, it is hard for them sometimes to remember to go out there and extend to the 3-point line. It will be a tough match up for us and, once again, our defense will be the key. I do not think we have done a very good job of defending the 3-point line, so this is one of those games that we really have to buckle down and get out there and defend it."
Auburn is off to a 10-2 start through the first 12 games, the team's best start since opening the 2008-09 season 12-0. The Tigers are averaging a 22.4-point margin of victory in their 12 wins. Three Tigers are averaging double figures, led by Hasina Muhammad with 16.1 per game, including four 20-point games after her first career double-double at GW. Tyrese Tanner is at 12.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while Blanche Alverson comes in with 11.9 points and a team-high 5.9 boards per game.
Center Peyton Davis leads the team in the post, averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.Najat Ouardad is tops in the SEC and 17th in the country in assists with 6.3 per game while scoring 5.0 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.