AUBURN - It's showtime in front of the home folks for Auburn's women's basketball team and first-year coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. The Tigers take on Alabama State in their home opener tonight at 6 at the Auburn Arena.
First-year Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy
Williams-Flournoy moved from Georgetown to replace Nell Fortner, who resigned after last season, and brought a pressing, up-tempo style. The Tigers opened their season last week, beating Maine 71-41 in the Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational before falling to host North Carolina State 85-71 in the championship game.
“The biggest thing is we want to be able to put on a good showing in front of our home crowd,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We want to show them how well we can play, how hard we can play, a different style. Let’s get into our presses, let’s turn teams over, let’s push in transition, let’s score. Let’s just give our fans a picture of what we look like.”
Tyreese Tanner averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds over the weekend and was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. Hasina Muhammad scored 20 points against Maine.
“I thought Tyrese was really good because she finally figured out that there are so many aspects to the game that she can bring,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Not just scoring, she is a great rebounder. She can be a good defender. She always thought she was working hard. I’d tell her every day, ‘You’re not working hard. You’re not working hard enough.’ Now she’s starting to figure out there’s a lot of things. She can be an all-around player every single game.”
The game will be Alabama State's season opener. Auburn leads the all-time series 17-0, but the two teams have not met since 2006.
The Tigers forced an average of 23 turnovers per game last weekend, turning them into 50 points.
“I thought we tried to execute our presses a little bit and tried to be in the right place at the right time,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Offensively, sometimes I thought our sets looked very good. Sometimes we didn’t screen as well as we needed to screen, but I saw a lot of improvement and a lot of things we need to work on.”
Alabama State returns 11 letterwinners and three starters from last season’s team that went 14-14 and finished fifth in the SWAC with an 11-7 record. Included among the returners are the top three scorers from last season for the Hornets.
“I know it is hard scouting a team in the beginning of the season that has not played,” Williams-Flournoy said. “They’re athletic. They have a few kids that can shoot the 3 extremely well, a good size post player that can score inside. We have to be able to defend her, as well. They’ll mix up their defenses a lot. I think a lot of it is just being prepared and ready to play the way we need to play.”