Tigers are playing with a focused enthusiasm. Will take on Vanderbilt at 6p.m. CST tonight.
The Auburn Women's Basketball team has struggled this year with out the services of Team MVP and All-SEC guard Alli Smalley. But the last three games have brought hope of finishing strong as the Tigers enter the second half of the SEC season.
In the last week the Tigers (11-11, 3-5 SEC) really turned it on - losing a close one to Mississippi State (62-57), defeating South Carolina 53-49, and shellacking Ole Miss Sunday 67 -54. Coach Nell Fortner said the Ole Miss win, "Was a good way to start the second half of the SEC season."
The Tigers were tenacious in Oxford, putting up a fight in a game that saw eight lead changes in the first half. With a little over five minutes in the half, Blanche Alverson made a lay up that gave Auburn a lead the Tigers didn't relinquish the rest of the way.
This team has a different feeling than it did earlier in the year. After Sunday's victory, Coach Fortner said, "We are focusing on finishing the season strong and we are one down and now with seven to go."
There's no doubt about it, the Tigers are playing much better ball than they did the first half of the season. And they are getting a lot of that impetus from underclassmen. Sophomore Camille Glymph led the scoring in Oxford with 19 points and sophomore Tyrese Tanner, although not a starter, is the team's leading scorer with a 10.9 point average per game.
The Tigers will take on Vanderbilt this evening for the second time this season with tip off at 6 p.m. CST in the AU Arena. The Commodores won the first meeting in Nashville 66-58 on Jan. 12.
At first glance winning tonight's game might look like a tall order coming against a Vandy team that is 16-5 and has the SEC's leading scorer in Christina Foggie. She is averaging 18.2 points per game.
However, Vanderbilt has gone 3-2 since their first meeting; and the Tigers almost pulled out that one with a tremendous rally coming from a 20 point deficit to outscore the ‘Dores 45-37 in the second half.
Added to that little stat is the fact that four of their five losses have been road games including three SEC losses. And Auburn has a better than average chance to win as Vandy is catching Auburn on an upswing.
If Auburn keeps the momentum going they will put themselves in position to play in the post season. That's a scenario that didn't look too promising a couple of weeks ago. But now these Tigers are playing like a team on a mission and are focused on finishing strong.