Women One Win Away From Championship Game

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team hopes to take another step towards the Women's NIT title Monday night when they take on the Creighton Blue Jays in Omaha, Neb.

The Tigers moved to 21-11 on the season with a 69-63 victory over Richmond Wednesday night while the Blue Jays improved to 24-8 with a 70-64 victory over Iowa to go along with wins over Maine and Siena in the WNIT.

Creighton played its way to a regular-season Missouri Valley Conference title for the second year in a row this season. The main reason why was a perfect record at home, something that Auburn hopes to end Monday night. In addition to their 13-0 home record this season, the Blue Jays are in the middle of a 23-game home win streak, which is the second best in the country behind Connecticut. Stanford was also ahead of them until their recent loss in the NCAA Tournament.

Creighton boasts the MVC Player of the Year in Christy Neneman as well as the MVC Defensive Player of the Year in Laura Spanheimer, who has 91 steals and 21 blocked shots. Leading the team in scoring at 17.2 points per game, Neneman also leads the team in rebounds per game with 6.7 and assists with 102 this season.

For the Tigers this will be another game of perseverance after losing center Mandisha Stevenson with a broken bone in her hand. Add in forward Le'Coe Willingham's shoulder injury and it's a wonder this team is still playing this late in the season. Although Willingham is showing her toughness by playing through the pain, much of the reason they are is the emergence of sophomore point guard Nicole Louden and mid-year addition Louise Emeagi as well as forward Tia Miller.

Maybe the most talented player on the Auburn roster, Miller has been up and down all season, but when her team has needed her the most she has delivered in the postseason. The latest evidence of that came against Richmond when she led the Tigers with 17 points and nine rebounds. With top scorer Natasha Brackett held in check, other Tiger players stepped up when needed. Louden had an impressive game vs. Richmond with career high points with 14 and steals with five. Also adding valuable points was sophomore Louise Emeagi with 12 points off the bench in the win.

Game time for Monday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT. The winner of the game will face the winner of the Baylor vs. Colorado State/Missouri in the championship game to be held later this week.


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