Women's Basketball Set To Wrap Up Non-Conference Slate With Jacksonville State
Dec. 29, 2010
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (6-6) will play its final non-conference game of the season Thursday as the Tigers host in-state rival Jacksonville State (4-8). Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Auburn Arena.
Thursday's game will be Youth Night with kids ages 12 and under receiving free admission with a paying adult.
The JSU game will be the second in three days for the Tigers as Auburn downed Alabama A&M, 84-45, on Tuesday. Even with the tight schedule, Auburn head coach Nell Fortner does not see it as a hindrance to the team.
"I like playing games close together because I think it helps keep your kids focused, and they like to play games," said Fortner. "Practices are intense, but yet they know the game is the next day so it gives them great energy to get out there and continue working."
The game is the last of the 2010 calendar year for Auburn and the final tune-up before the Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Sunday for the team's Southeastern Conference opener against rival Alabama.
"We continue to take each day, each practice and each game, to get better as a team and prepare ourselves for the SEC," said Fortner. "It is important for us to continue to get better and work on the things we want to do during the conference season.
"Anytime we have an opportunity to play and compete and work on things defensively is a good thing. The kids are really looking forward to tomorrow."
Auburn is coming off a dominating performance against Alabama A&M; one in which the Tigers set marks that had not been seen since the 2008-09 SEC Championship season. Auburn locked down the paint, scoring 44 points, compared to the Bulldogs' 24. It was the most points in the paint for Auburn since it scored 56 against Arkansas on March 1, 2009.
The Tigers also racked up 18 steals while forcing 29 Alabama A&M turnovers. Auburn was able to turn the turnovers into 39 points on the other end of the floor. The 18 steals were the most for the Tigers since it tallied 22 against Alabama A&M on Nov. 14, 2008 and the 29 points off turnovers were the most since the team scored 39 against Sam Houston State on Dec. 5, 2008.
After a 2-7 start to the season, Jacksonville State has rebounded to win two of its last three games, including an 11-point win over Kennesaw State on Tuesday, heading into Thursday's game.
The Gamecocks have a spread offense with six different players averaging at least 5.0 points per game. Brittany Wiley is at the top of the list with 12.8 points per game, followed by Danielle Beneby with 8.8. Beneby also leads the team in assists with 4.0 per game and is second in rebounding with 5.8 boards.
Brittany Manning, who averages 5.5 points per game, is the only player that has faced Auburn before. She scored five points with five rebounds against the Tigers on Nov. 14, 2008 while playing for Alabama A&M.
As a team, JSU shoots 35.9 percent from the field and 26.6 percent from 3-point range. The Gamecock defense forces 17.3 turnovers per game on 9.1 steals while blocking 2.4 shots per game.
"Jacksonville State is a team that hustles on every play and they play extremely hard until the end," said Fortner. "They have shown several different defensive looks, so we'll have to be very ready offensively to attack whatever is thrown at us. We also really hope to build on the great team effort that we had on Tuesday against Alabama A&M."
Auburn has won three of its last four games to improve to 6-6 on the season. After a difficult 1-4 start to the season, the Tigers have rallied to go 5-2 since then.
The Tigers have lived off their defense this season, averaging 9.8 steals and 4.0 blocks per game. Auburn opponents average 20.3 turnovers per game with the Tigers scoring an average of 21.3 points per game off of turnovers.
For fans that cannot make it to the game, GameTracker will be available at 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 AuburnTigers.com.
Follow Auburn women's basketball on Twitter at twitter.com/AuburnWBB.
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