Tigers to Open on the Road in WNIT

The Auburn women's basketball team is headed out of state for postseason play.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team has accepted a bid to play in the WNIT and will travel to Cookeville, Tenn., for an opening round game on Thursday night vs. Tennessee Tech. The tipoff time has not yet been set.

Auburn, 15-15, will face a team that posted a 23-7 record and won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title.

Auburn, the 2003 WNIT champion, has a 4-1 all-time record vs. Tennessee Tech. The two teams last met in the first round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament won 73-54 by Auburn.

Auburn's All-SEC guard, senior Alli Smalley, says, "We had a day or two off after the SEC Tournament and after that we came back ready to work and that is what we have been doing ever since then.

"We haven't known who we were going to play so we have been working on a lot of stuff for us on both offense and defense as well as staying in shape doing drills and stuff," she adds. "We have been trying to stay sharp and on our top of our game."

Alli Smalley leads the Tigers in scoring and is the only senior on the Auburn team.

This will be the third time for Auburn and Tennessee Tech to play in Cookeville with Auburn winning the previous two matchups.

"We are looking forward to playing in the WNIT," said Auburn coach Nell Fortner. "It will be a great experience for our team and we are excited to keep the season going.

"Tennessee Tech is a very good team," she added. "They won their conference this year and are accustomed to winning. It will definitely be a challenge to go up there and play them on their home court."

The Golden Eagles were 15-3 in their conference, but did not receive the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament when they lost 82-76 to Tennessee-Martin in the league tournament title game.

Under Fortner the Tigers made the quarter-finals of the 2007 WNIT. The next two seasons the Tigers played in the NCAA Tournament before staying home last year.

Auburn is a host for the opening two rounds of the 2011 NCAA Women's Tournament. Florida State and Samford will open play at 4 p.m. CDT Sunday in the Auburn Arena. Georgia and Middle Tennessee State will follow at 6:30 p.m. The winners of the two games will compete for a Sweet 16 berth at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

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