DULUTH, Ga. - After finishing off the team's best regular season in four years, the Auburn women's basketball team (16-13, 5-11 SEC) turns its attention to this week's Southeastern Conference Tournament in Duluth, Ga. Auburn, the No. 11 seed, will take on No. 6 seed LSU in the second round of the tournament at 7:30 p.m. CT, Thursday.
The game will air live on SportSouth and on ESPN3.com with Dave Baker and Maria Taylor calling the action. Fans can also listen live on 96.7 FM in Auburn and on AuburnTigers.com with Andy Burcham and Stephanie Follett on the air.
This is the second meeting between Auburn and LSU with the Bayou Bengals taking the win in the regular-season meeting, 59-55, on Jan. 31 in Auburn.
"I thought our young ladies played a very good game here at home," said head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "You look back at some of the mistakes; the costly turnovers are really what cost us the game. We did not really play that well in the first half, but we played well enough to continue to stay within the game."
This will be the sixth meeting all-time between Auburn and LSU in the SEC Tournament with Auburn winning all five previous meetings. The last was a 76-73 Auburn win on March 4, 1994 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
After winning three of the team's last five games of the season, Williams-Flournoy likes the confidence her team has entering postseason play.
"After going on an eight game losing streak everything seems tough and just getting that win against Alabama really helped," said Williams-Flournoy. Even in the losing streak we were not really getting beat down. We were in some really close games and had some chances to win some games. I think they just needed that win to get over the hump and that was the biggest thing."
What she is even more pleased about is the way her team finished the season defensively. The Tigers forced Vanderbilt into 26 turnovers and then finished off the season by forcing 31 turnovers against Mississippi State. The 31 turnovers by the Bulldogs are the most ever forced by Auburn against an sEC opponent.
"You look at our last two games where we really made a conscious effort to up our defense," said Williams-Flournoy. "Even though we did not win at Vanderbilt, we forced them into 26 turnovers but the thing I wanted out of that was for them to realize how many points did we score off of turnovers and that was thing that we did much better in against Mississippi State.
"We forced them into 31 turnovers and had 31 points off of those turnovers. They really are beginning to understand that it is our defense that is going to win more games for us because on our offensive end, sometimes you just do not know what you are going to get."
LSU had an up-and-down first 20 games of the season, but the Bayou Bengals' 59-55 win at Auburn on Jan. 31 kick-started a strong finish to the season that has LSU as the No. 6 seed in the tournament and ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.
The win against Auburn was one of seven in LSU's final nine games. LSU has also won six-straight games heading into the SEC Tournament. Other wins in that stretch include a 62-54 win over No. 9 Georgia, a 77-72 win over No. 5 Kentucky and a 67-52 win at No. 14 Texas A&M in the regular-season finale.
Theresa Plaisance has led LSU throughout the season from the center position with 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Adrienne Webb is right behind her with 13.9 points while freshman Danielle Ballard averages 12.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game.
Auburn is 16-13 and averaging a 19.6-point margin of victory in the 16 wins. Three Tigers are averaging double figures, led by Hasina Muhammad, who was named to the All-SEC Second Team, with 14.7 per game, including seven 20-point games, and 5.0 rebounds. Tyrese Tanner is at 13.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while Blanche Alverson, the 2013 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, comes in with 12.6 points and a team-high 5.9 boards per game.
Center Peyton Davis leads the team in the post, averaging 6.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Najat Ouardad is second in the SEC and 19th in the country in assists with 6.1 per game while scoring 5.1 points per game.
Auburn will play in the second session of games Thursday with No. 10 Missouri and No. 7 Vanderbilt opening play at 5 p.m. CT. Auburn and LSU will follow at 7:30 p.m. CT. Live stats will be available at www.SECSports.com.