Tigers Begin Preparations For Aussie Trip

The Auburn women's basketball team hit the court to begin preparations for an exhibition tour Down Under.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team held the first practice of the Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy Era on Monday as she gave her team a speech about the importance of earning respect.

"She means business," senior Blanche Alverson said. "We've got to be ready to come and play at all times, be on our toes academic-wise, basketball-wise. Everything is important and all the little things matter."

Auburn's first test of the 2012-13 season will come not only soon and on the road, but also in another continent against the Logan Thunder, Cairns Dolphins, Sydney Flames and Sutherland Sharks on an exhibition tour of Australia.

"It's gives us an opportunity to go ahead and get some things in and get some things going right away, see what might work, what might not work before the season even starts," said Williams-Flournoy. "This is like our preseason."

The Tigers will practice every day this week before having a 10-day layoff. Returning on July 31, the team will practice until Aug. 4 before it leaves that afternoon for Australia.

"Now that we can start our practice we can get rid of the nerves, some of the jitters, the things that you normally have the first day of practice," Williams-Flournoy said.

Nicole Tanner, who has only been on campus three weeks, said she knew what to expect with the team because she visited her sister, sophomore Tyrese Tanner, frequently last year. However, the freshman said she was nervous at first about the trip after she heard how long the flight is.

"Once I get there I know it will be the best experience in the world," Tanner added. "It's a time for us to get away with no distractions, just basketball and our Auburn family together."

Alverson mentioned going to Australia is "a once in a lifetime trip for a lot of people," but it will also benefit the team through not only playing, but also bonding. Williams-Flournoy added that being in Shenzhen, China last year with a U.S. touring team, which won a tournament, allowed her to realize how broadening the experience can be.

Blanche Alverson is shown in game action.

Bonding will be even more crucial for this team, however, as the players and the new coaching staff to get to know each other. The former Georgetown head coach was hired by Auburn on April 2nd replacing Nell Fortner, who resigned at the end of the season.

"Hopefully, once we get started on August 4 it'll be great then," Williams'Flournoy said.

With all of the excitement about the upcoming trip, the veteran Alverson said she's excited to get things started for her last year as a Tiger.

"It's been fun meeting new people because this is the first time I've met the new coaches before," she noted. "It's exciting to get a new start and to really get going."

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