1996 Season in Review
After playing in three consecutive national championship games during his 17-year tenure at Auburn, entering a season as the underdog was an unfamiliar position for head coach Joe Ciampi. But without any preseason recognition, it was a role that Ciampi was determined to make the most of. And the Tigers did just that.
By year's end, Auburn had beaten eight ranked teams, were ranked eighth in the final USA Today poll and had won 20 games for the 13th time in Ciampi's career.
Besides team accomplishments, the 1995-96 season was also a memorable one for individual honors. For Ciampi, it meant achieving a milestone in his career when he won his 400th game at Auburn with a 80-39 victory over UAB on Jan. 17. Three players also left their marks when Kristen Mulligan dished out her 500th assist at Troy State and Monique Morehouse and Samantha Williams each scored their 1,000th point in the win at Vanderbilt.
The Tigers started the season with a victory at the Dial Soap Classic, earning their seventh Dial tournament title in the last eight years. Junior Tara Williams was named to the Dial Soap Classic All-Tournament Team while Junior Laticia Morris was named the tournament MVP.
Auburn followed the tournament win with seven straight victories including a 72-62 win over #13 DePaul at home on Dec. 1. The streak was finally snapped when AU fell to fifth-ranked Stanford, 44-63, in the finals of the Fry's Cardinal Classic held in Palo Alto, Ca. Both Monique Morehouse and Laticia Morris were named to the Fry's Cardinal Classic All-Tournament Team.
After Christmas break, Auburn attended the Big Four Classic in Greensboro, NC. Although it dropped a game to Wake Forest in the first round of competition, the Tigers came back with a win over #24 North Carolina in which four of the five starters scored in the double figures. Monique Morehouse was named to the Big Four All Tournament Team.
The Tigers knocked off their third ranked opponent of the season with a 69-53 win over #21 Florida at home on Jan. 7. Auburn easily beat Western Kentucky but dropped three of the next four games to #7 Georgia and at Miss. State and #17 Alabama.
The Tigers responded by going on a five game winning streak, starting with a victory over LSU, in which Laticia Morris netted a career-high 26 points and Monique Morehouse picked up her eighth double-double with 15 points and a season-high 18 rebounds.
In the streak, Auburn won two of its biggest games of the season. First, the Tigers handed #11 Vanderbilt its first home loss of the year with a 71-66 win. It was the first time that Auburn had beaten the Commodores in Nashville since 1989-90.
The second win was keyed by Monique Morehouse who scored a game-high 26 points as Auburn beat 12th-ranked Alabama at home on Feb. 13.
After dropping consecutive overtime games at Tennessee and Arkansas, Auburn rebounded to win its final home game with a 59-58 nail-biter victory over #22 Ole Miss. The win gave the Tigers a final regular season record of 19-7 and 6-5 in the SEC, good for the fifth seed in the tournament.
Ranked 16th in the nation by AP and USA Today, Auburn defeated Kentucky 58-43 in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Kentucky's score was the lowest ever in the history of the SEC tournament. Auburn fell to 13th-ranked Alabama 65-59 in the second round of the tournament.
Two players reaped individual awards for their play during 1995-96 regular season. Monique Morehouse earned first-team All-SEC honors and was a finalist for the WBCA All-Star Team while Laticia Morris was a second-team All-SEC selection.
Auburn was seeded sixth heading into the NCAA sub-regional in Boulder, Co. In the first game, Morehouse and Tara Williams each registered double-doubles as the Tigers came away with a 73-53 win over Hawaii. In the round of 32, Samantha Williams hit a three-pointer and sunk two free throws in overtime to lead the Tigers to a 68-61 upset win over third-seeded Colorado.
The Tigers knocked off their second top three seed with a 75-69 win over number two Penn State in the West Regional in Seattle. Laticia Morris scored 27 points while Monique Morehouse (14 pts, 11 rebs.) and Tara Williams (16 pts., 10 rebs.) each earned double-doubles.
Top-seeded Stanford was too much for Auburn as the Tigers fell 57-71 in the Elite Eight. Samantha Williams scored a team-high 15 points while Laticia Morris and Tara Williams each netted 13 points. Morris was named to the West Regional All-Tournament team after scoring a combined 40 points in two games.
- For the 14th time in 16 seasons, Auburn finished the season first in the SEC in scoring defense. The Tigers held opponents to 58.5 points a game.
- For the sixth time in eight seasons, Auburn was first in the conference in opponents' field goal percentage (36.5).
- For the first time ever, Auburn finished first in the SEC in free throw percentage (73%).
- Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Auburn ranked eighth in the nation in scoring defense. The Tigers were 12th nationally in field goal percentage defense and 16th in free throw percentage.
- The Tigers won 20 games for the 13th time in head coach Joe Ciampi's 17-year tenure at Auburn.
- Auburn made its 12th appearance in the NCAA Championships in 1996. The Tigers advanced to the Elite Eight for the sixth time.
- Auburn beat eight ranked opponents in 1996: #13 DePaul, #24 North Carolina, #21 Florida, #11 Vanderbilt, #12 Alabama, #22 Ole Miss, #17 Colorado and #8 Penn State.
- Auburn center Monique Morehouse was named to the All-SEC first team, marking the 24th time that an Auburn player garnered first-team status. Laticia Morris earned second-team honors, becoming AU's fifth second-team selection.
- The Tigers finished the season ranked 8th by USA Today.
Last Modified April 8, 1996
Auburn Media Relations