Auburn Women's Basketball Returns Home For 6 p.m., Thursday, Meeting Against Arkansas - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Auburn Women's Basketball Returns Home For 6 p.m., Thursday, Meeting Against Arkansas

Game notes can be found here:

http://auburntigers.cstv.com/photos/schools/aub/sports/w-baskbl/auto_pdf/weekly-release.pdf

 

Auburn Women's Basketball Returns Home For 6 p.m., Thursday Meeting Against Arkansas

 

GAME 25

 

[NR/NR] Auburn (12-12, 3-8 SEC) vs. [NR/NR] Arkansas (9-14, 1-9 SEC)

 

When: Thursday, February 11 œ 6 p.m. CT

Where: Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum (10,500) œ Auburn, Ala.

TV/Webcast: N/A

Radio: WMXA 96.7; Andy Burcham (play-by-play), Arnika Edwards (color) Audio Webcast: AuburnTigers.com

GameTracker: AuburnTigers.com

Series: Auburn leads, 17-9 (9-2 in Auburn) Last Meeting: March 1, 2009 - 94-57, AU in Auburn Up Next: Auburn will remain at home for a 3 p.m., Sunday game against LSU; the game is AU's Pink Zone game, raising awareness of breast cancer

 AUBURN – The Auburn women's basketball team (12-12, 3-8 SEC) returns home Thursday for a 6 p.m. meeting against Arkansas (9-14, 1-9 SEC). The game is the first of a two-game homestand for the Tigers.

 The last time the Tigers and Razorbacks faced off, it was March 1, 2009 with Auburn pulling out the 94-57 victory to clinch its first Southeastern Conference title in 20 years.

 A year later, Auburn head coach Nell Fortner expects a tough game from a team that returns its core from last season.

 "They are not much different from last season. They are running the same things offensively and they have basically all the same players,"

said Fortner. "They are a dangerous team. I don't know why they have not won more games. They are a very dangerous team and they can put a lot of points up on the board."

 Auburn is coming off a pair of tough losses against South Carolina and Alabama. The Tigers combined to lose the two games by five points, falling 61-58 to the Gamecocks and 55-53 to the Crimson Tide. In all, Auburn has lost four SEC games this season by three points or less.

 Leading the way for Auburn this season is junior Alli Smalley with 15.5 points per game, ranking sixth in the SEC. Smalley is also coming off her first career double-double as she tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds Sunday at Alabama. Right behind her is senior KeKe Carrier with 13.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Carrier ranks in the top

15 in the SEC in all three categories, including a second-place position in blocks.

 Since the start of SEC play, freshman Morgan Toles has stepped up her role, averaging 8.3 points and 4.8 assists per game. She posted a career-best 10 assists against Georgia. Redshirt junior Jordan Greenleaf is averaging 7.4 rebounds and 6.2 points in SEC play. She is also making a case for All-Defensive team as she ranks 14th in steals and ninth in blocks in SEC-only games.

 The Tigers average shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from 3-point range. Auburn out-rebounds its opponents by 5.6 per game, 6.3 in SEC games. AU has cut its turnovers down to 17.1 per game and average blocking 5.2 shots per game.

 Arkansas enters Thursday's game on a three-game losing streak after picking up its first SEC win at Alabama, 66-62, on Jan. 24 in overtime.

The Razorbacks have struggled in SEC games, averaging losing by 12.6 points per game. Arkansas has only two single-digit losses to SEC teams, a 59-53 loss to Florida on Jan. 3 and a 67-61 loss to Vanderbilt on Jan.

31.

 "Arkansas has the ability to put a lot of points on the board,"

said Fortner. "They have C'eira Ricketts back from last year, who was the best freshman in the conference last year. She is so dangerous when she has the ball in her hands.

 "They have the ability to beat in you in several ways but especially off the dribble. They are great penetrators and great 3-point shooters.

They set a lot of screens and you have to be ready for that. They can make it very difficult to guard them."

 Leading the team is sophomore Lyndsay Harris with 12.8 points per game.

Right behind her is senior Charity Ford with 12.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore Ashley Daniels is the team's top rebounder with 6.7 per game.

 Ricketts rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.2 points and 5.0 rebounds. Ricketts became the only player to ever post a double-double against Auburn last season as she tallied 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in Fayetteville, Ark.

 Arkansas relies on the 3-point shot as four different players have hit more than 10 this season. The Razorbacks average 5.4 3-pointers per game. Harris is the top outside threat as she has hit 59 of 168 attempts this season for 35.1 percent. Charity Ford has hit 24 of her 93 attempts for a 25.8 percent clip.

 As a team, Arkansas shoots 39.8 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from 3-point range. The Razorbacks average 19.1 turnovers per game and collect 9.7 steals per game.

 Coming off a pair of tough losses, Fortner is looking forward to back-to-back home games, beginning with Thursday's meeting against Arkansas.

 "It is nice to be at home. It is always nice to play in front of your fans, so we are looking forward to it," said Fortner. "It is especially nice to have back-to-back home games, even more so this late in the season. The more you can sleep in your own bed, eat at your own place, really helps this time of year."

 The doors at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum will open at 4:30 p.m.

Thursday night is Greek Night as Greek organizations will compete to see who can bring the most fans to the game. There will also be a halftime battle between the organizations.

 Fans that cannot make it to the game can follow along with GameTracker and an audio Webcast 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.

 Auburn Women's Basketball Quick Hitters

œ Auburn is coming off a 55-53 loss at Alabama; Arkansas is coming off a 71-57 loss to Kentucky œ Auburn has won a series-record five consecutive games against Arkansas œ The Tigers have won eight of the last nine meetings against Arkansas in Auburn, Ala.

 

œ Auburn swept the season series against Arkansas last season, 70-61 in Fayetteville and 94-57 in Auburn œ Auburn leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 17-9, and leads 9-2 when playing in Auburn œ Nell Fortner has a 6-2 record against Arkansas and is 5-0 against UA head coach Tom Collen œ Auburn is 18-9 all-time against teams from the state of Arkansas œ Auburn has a 177-147 all-time record in the SEC, Nell Fortner has a

38-43 record in conference play

œ Auburn is 4-6 all-time on Feb. 11; Nell Fortner is 0-1 œ The Tigers are 144-81 all-time in the month of February, 20-20 under Fortner œ The Tigers are 7-4 at home this season, 2-3 in SEC play œ Auburn is 77-2 under Fortner when scoring 70 or more points œ Youth Movement: Seven of Auburn's 10 active players are either freshmen or sophomores œ Freshman point guard Morgan Toles tallied 10 assists vs. Georgia, becoming the first AU freshman in 17 years to to so œ In the win over Liberty, Auburn's front-court out-scored the back court for the first time since Feb. 10, 2008; the Tigers repeated the effort at South Alabama, vs. Valparaiso and at San Diego State œ Alli Smalley scored her 1,000th career point in the second half against Vanderbilt, becoming the 25th player to do so œ KeKe Carrier grabbed her 500th career rebound at LSU, Jordan Greenleaf grabbed her 500th rebound vs. Alabama œ For the first time this season, Auburn played with 10 players against Alabama œ Sophomore guard Morgan Jennings played for the first time this season against Alabama œ Sophomore forward Chantel Hilliard returned to the court vs.

Alabama after missing three games with an injury œ Nicolle Thomas scored 27 points against Florida State, the highest point output for an Auburn freshman since 1987 œ The Tigers tied the Auburn single-game blocks record against Alabama A&M with 17 œ Freshman Morgan Toles and sophomores Chantel Hilliard and Parrisha Simmons earned their first career starts in the season-opener against Troy; freshman Nicolle Thomas earned her first career start against Alabama A&M œ Morgan Toles and Nicolle Thomas started against Alabama A&M, marking the first time for Auburn to have multiple freshmen starters since March 3, 2006 against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament (Boddie, Bonner, Carrier) œ KeKe Carrier, Auburn's lone senior, started against Alabama A&M - her first since Feb. 11, 2007 œ The Tigers are beginning their final season in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum before moving to the new Auburn Arena œ Auburn was picked eighth in the SEC Preseason Media and Coaches'

polls, LSU (media) and Tennessee (coaches) were picked to win the league this season œ Alli Smalley was picked the the Coaches' Preseason All-SEC Second Team œ Nell Fortner is beginning her sixth season at Auburn, marking her longest tenure at any job œ The Tigers welcome four newcomers: Blanche Alverson, Morgan Toles, Nicolle Thomas, Pascale West œ Auburn begins the season with 6-7 KeKe Carrier and 6-8 Pascale West, two of the three tallest players in the SEC œ AU is without Reneisha Hobbs after suffering an ACL injury, leaving the Tigers with a roster of 10 œ Auburn will be a first- and second-round host of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in the new Auburn Arena

 

NEXT UP FOR THE TIGERS

Auburn will remain at home for a 3 p.m., Sunday meeting against LSU at

Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The Tigers defeated the Bayou Bengals

64-62 in overtime on Jan. 10 in Baton Rouge, La.

 QUICK HITS

Auburn is in its 39th season of women's basketball and sports an

all-time record of 777-341... AU has made 18 NCAA Tournament

appearances, two WNIT appearances and three Final Fours in the

program's history... Head Coach Nell Fortner is in her sixth season

at Auburn with a 130-80 career record and a 113-69 record on the

Plains... The Tigers are coming off a 30-4 season in 2008-09 with their

first SEC title in 20 years and its second NCAA Tournament appearance in

as many seasons.

 AUBURN-ARKANSAS SERIES

This will be the 27th meeting between Auburn and Arkansas with Auburn

holding a 17-9 series advantage. Auburn has won nine of 11 meetings in

Auburn and is riding a five-game winning streak against the Razorbacks -

the longest winning streak by either team in the series. The Tigers have

won eight of the last 10 meetings with Arkansas and eight of the last

nine when playing in Auburn.

 LAST TIME AGAINST ARKANSAS (March 1, 2009)

The No. 7 Auburn women's basketball team claimed its first SEC title

in 20 years as the Tigers rolled over the Arkansas Razorbacks on March

1, 2009.

 

DeWanna Bonner led the Tigers with 25 points. Fellow seniors Sherell

Hobbs and Whitney Boddie both scored in double-digits with 18 and 10,

respectively, while true freshman Chantel Hilliard added 11.

 

Bonner broke the 1,000-rebound barrier at the 14:03 mark of the first

half. The Fairfield, Ala., native became just the fourth Auburn player

ever to hit the mark. She also moved up the career scoring list, passing

Vickie Orr for second all-time with 2,052 points.

 

The regular-season title is Auburn's first since the 1989 season and

gives the Tigers the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament in North

Little Rock, Ark. 

 

The Tigers built a 10-point lead just four minutes into the first half

after an early rash of Arkansas turnovers. The Tigers continued to

capitalize on the turnovers, converting 11 into 16 points en route to

Auburn's third-highest first-half point total of the season and the

most in any SEC game this season.

 

Auburn finished the day hitting 35-of-68 from the field, 1-of-4 from

three-point land and 23-of-33 from the stripe. Not only did Auburn play

a nearly error-free game with its lowest turnover total of the season

with six and a 52.5 percent shooting effort, but it held the Razorback

to 39.4 percent from the field, forcing 21 total turnovers.

 

LAST TIME OUT FOR AUBURN

Trailing by 12 points with 5:12 left in the game, the Auburn women's

basketball team shut in-state rival Alabama out for the remainder of the

game, rattling off 10 unanswered points, but it would not be enough as

the Crimson Tide held on for the 55-53 win Feb. 7 at Coleman Coliseum in

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

 

Junior guard Alli Smalley scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the

second half to give the Tigers a shot at the win. She also pulled down a

team-high 11 rebounds to record her first career double-double.

 

The Tigers' defense stepped up in the last five minutes of the game,

holding the Crimson Tide without a field goal, forcing three turnovers.

Smalley scored nine of Auburn's 10 points in the final stretch, but

the Tigers could not convert on a last-second possession in the loss.

 

Also scoring in double figures for the Tigers was senior center KeKe

Carrier with 12 points and five rebounds. Carrier was held to 5-of-10

shooting in the game, due in part to Alabama's smothering defense.

Redshirt junior scored seven points along with six rebounds and three

blocked shots while freshman point guard Morgan Toles led the team with

five assists.

 

Auburn lost despite winning the rebounding battle, 37-32. The Tigers

pulled down 14 offensive rebounds, but could only convert them into 10

second-chance points.

 

Tierney Jenkins led Alabama with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four

steals. LaToya King followed with 11 points and four rebounds.

 

LAST TIME OUT FOR ARKANSAS

A'Dia Mathies scored 27 points and Victoria Dunlap added 22 points

and 11 rebounds to help Kentucky beat Arkansas 71-57 on Sunday for its

seventh straight win. Dunlap scored 20 of her points in the second half

as Kentucky broke a 33-33 halftime tie.

 

Lyndsay Harris scored 20 points and Charity Ford added 10 to lead

Arkansas. The Razorbacks led 8-0 and Harris hit four 3-pointers in the

first half to help Arkansas stay close with the Wildcats.

 

Arkansas stayed with the Wildcats through the first half for a 33-33

tie. The Razorbacks led 42-40 with 13:03 left in the game, but a 13-1

Kentucky run gave the Wildcats their first significant lead of the

game.

 

UK led by double digits throughout most of the rest of the game for the

71-57 win.

 

AUBURN VS. THE SEC

Auburn is 177-147 all-time in Southeastern Conference Games. Head coach

Nell Fortner holds a 38-43 record in the conference.

 

NELL FORTNER VS. TOM COLLEN

This will be the sixth meeting between Nell Fortner and Tom Collen with

Fortner holding a 5-0 series lead.

 

Fortner is in her sixth season at Auburn and seventh overall as a

collegiate head coach, holding a 130-80 career record. Collen is in his

third season at Arkansas and holds a 44-41 record with the Razorbacks.

He is in his 12th season overall as a head coach and owns a 251-110

career record.

 

ON THIS DATE. . .

When playing on Feb. 11, Auburn has a 4-6 all-time record, Nell Fortner

has a 0-1 record on Feb. 1. The Tigers last played on Feb. 11 in 2007,

taking an 80-45 loss at Vanderbilt. The last victory came in 1995 as the

Tigers downed Mississippi State, 77-63.

 

AGAINST THE NATURAL STATE

Auburn holds a 18-9 record against teams from the state of Arkansas.

Records against Arkansas teams:  Arkansas (17-9), Arkansas-Little Rock

(1-0).

 

BREAKING THE TOP 25

On Jan. 31, 4,568 fans showed up to Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum to

see Auburn defeat ninth-ranked Georgia, 67-53. The crowd marked the

25th-largest to ever see a women's basketball game at the BEMC. Three

of Auburn's top-25 crowds have been against Georgia and six of the

top-25 crowds have come in the Nell Fortner era.

 

JOIN THE CLUB

With her layup at the 18:21 mark in the second half against Vanderbilt,

junior Alli Smalley joined an exclusive club as she became just the 25th

Auburn player ever to score 1,000 career points. She finished the game

with 19 points, giving her 1,007 on her career.

 

Currently with 1,092 career points, she is the third player recruited

to Auburn by Nell Fortner to reach the plateau, joining DeWanna Bonner

(2,162 points) and Sherell Hobbs (1,372 points).

 

MOVING ON UP

Junior guard Alli Smalley (1,092 points) has been cruising up the

career scoring rankings. She broke into the top 30 at the LSU game and

three games later was ranked 24th all-time.

 

Entering Thursday's game, she needs 14 points to tie Samantha

Williams (1992-96) for 23rd place. She is also seven 3-pointers away

from tying Williams for third all-time in career 3-pointers.

 

Senior KeKe Carrier made her way into the top 30 on Feb. 4 against

South Carolina, scoring 14 points to tie Whitney Boddie (2005-09) for

30th all-time with 951 points. She is currently tied for 29th with

Charlene Thomas (1983-87) with 963 points and is eight points from tying

Laticia Morris (1995-97) for 28th.

 

FIRST DOUBLE

Junior guard Alli Smalley scored 17 points along with a career-high 11

rebounds Feb. 7 at Alabama, giving her the first double-double of her

career.

 

YOUTH MOVEMENT

Of the 10 active players on Auburn's roster, seven are freshman or

sophomores. KeKe Carrier is the lone senior on the roster with Alli

Smalley and Jordan Greenleaf filling out the active junior class.

 

The remainder of the roster is made up of three sophomores and four

freshman. Auburn has started multiple freshmen in 10 games this season

with Morgan Toles, Nicolle Thomas and Blanche Alverson earning the

starting nod at least once.

 

GOING TO THE O-BOARDS

Auburn enters the game as the best offensive rebounding team in the SEC

in SEC-only games, averaging 16.5 per game. Three of the top six

individual offensive rebounders in the SEC are also Auburn players as

Jordan Greenleaf ranks second (3.5), followed by KeKe Carrier (3.5) in

third and Parrisha Simmons (3.0) in sixth. The Tigers have scored 140

second-chance points in SEC games, averaging 12.7 per game.

 

FILLING A VOID

Auburn lost four players from last season's SEC Championship team, a

group of seniors that accounted for 5,091 career points, 2,547 rebounds,

1,410 assists and 685 steals.

 

Only two teams in the country, UC Riverside (eight players, 5,903

points) and Maryland (six players, 5,33 points) lost more points. UC

Riverside (3,219 rebounds) and Wintrop (six players, 2,560 rebounds)

lost more rebounds. No team in the country lost more assists or steals.

 

DISHING IT OUT

In Auburn's 67-53 win over Georgia, freshman point guard Morgan Toles

handed out a career-best 10 assists. It marked the first time this

season for an Auburn player to tally double-digit assists.

 

It is also the first time for an Auburn freshman to record double-digit

assists since Kristen Mulligan handed out 11 against LSU on Jan. 24,

1993 - more than 17 years ago.

 

Toles is also the top freshman in the SEC in the assist rankings (5th

overall, 4.4 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (8th overall, 1.3).

 

EXCITING SEC GAMES

Entering the games of Feb. 11, there have a total of 63 SEC games

played and 31 of them have been decided by single digits! That's

nearly half (49.2 percent) of all SEC games played this season. Each of

the 12 league teams has been involved in at least three of those

thrillers. There have been seven overtime games, with one needing

triple-overtime and two needing double-overtime to determine the

winner.

 

Auburn has had five games decided by three points or less in the SEC

this season and accounts for two of the seven overtime games.

 

IN THE TOP 30

Two Tigers this season have earned their way onto Auburn's top-30

career scoring list.

 

With her 14 points at LSU on Jan. 10, junior Alli Smalley moved into

the top-30 in career scoring at Auburn, passing Kristen Mulligan

(1992-96), who was previously ranked 30th with 944 career points.

Smalley currently ranks for 24th with 1,092 points.

 

Senior KeKe Carrier earned her way onto the list on Feb. 4 against

South Carolina. She scored 14 points to tie Whitney Boddie for 30th

all-time with 951 career points. She is currently tied for 29th with 963

career points.

 

Carrier and Smalley are the fourth and fifth players recruited to

Auburn by head coach Nell Fortner to make the list, joining DeWanna

Bonner (1st, 2,162 points), Sherell Hobbs (12th, 1,372 points) and

Whitney Boddie (31st, 951 points).

 

HOME COOKIN'

Since a 77-70 loss to Virginia on Jan. 5, 1992, the Auburn Tigers have

compiled a 125-6 record against non-conference opponents in

Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Overall, Auburn has a 346-69 record in

its home facility for an .836 winning percentage.

 

77 AND COUNTING

Auburn junior guard Alli Smalley earned her first collegiate start on

Dec. 29, 2007 at Saint Joseph's, the 14th game of her collegiate

career, and has not left. Since then, Smalley has started in 77

consecutive games.

 

OFFENSE WINS GAMES

Auburn is 77-2 when scoring 70 or more points in the Nell Fortner era.

The only times Auburn has lost when scoring at least 70 points was on

Jan. 20, 2005 vs. No. 7 Tennessee, 71-81 and Feb. 19, 2009 at No. 18

Vanderbilt, 73-70. When scoring less than 70 points, Auburn is 35-67

during the Fortner era.

 

IN FEBRUARY

Auburn is 144-81 all-time in the month of February, including a 20-20

mark under Nell Fortner (records begin in 1978-79 season, not all dates

provided prior to or during that season).

 

MAKING IT HOME

Nell Fortner enters her sixth season as Auburn's head coach, marking

her longest tenure at any position in her career. The longest Fortner

had stayed at a job prior to Auburn came from 1990-95 while she was an

assistant coach at Louisiana Tech under legendary head coach Leon

Barmore.

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