Katie Frerking (above) is Auburn's second leading scorer and a key defensive player.
Auburn, Ala.--Terri Williams-Flournoy and her assistant coaches are working on a game plan for Auburn's first round NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament game, but the Tigers already have a major head start on their scouting report of St. John’s.
The Tigers defeated the Red Storm 69-55 two years ago at Auburn Arena while St. John’s won the rematch the following season 56-49 as the home team in New York City.
“We played them eight times when I was at Georgetown,” points out Williams-Flournoy points, who notes she has a good idea of the Red Storm's style of play.
“Their guards are very athletic,” she says of an opponent that comes into the tournament with a 23-9 record after winning the Big East Conference tournament title.
St. John’s is the eighth seed for Friday’s 6:30 p.m. CDT matchup (ESPN2 television) that will be played in Waco, Tex., on the homecourt of Baylor, a No. 1 seed that is expected to easily advance past No. 16 seed Idaho before facing the winner of the St. John’s vs. Auburn matchup on Sunday. The Bears have a 33-1 record.
A transfer from Clemson, 5-9 guard Danaejah Grant is averaging 19.4 points and 6.3 rebounds to lead St. John’s. She is an all-league pick as is Aliyyah Handford, a 5-9 guard who averages 16.7 points and 5.5 rebounds.
“I don’t know if that is good or bad we are playing a team we are familiar with,” Williams-Flournoy says. “We are just happy to be here.”
Asked about her first trip to the NCAA Tournament as Auburn’s fourth-year head coach, she says, “It is just awesome. You play the game to be in March Madness. For two years when we played in postseason (20013 and 2014 WNIT) that was exciting for us, but now we have our opportunity to play in the Big Dance I am so excited for our young ladies.
“I have been to it as player, as an assistant coach and as a head coach," Coach Flo adds. "For them to experience this I get chill bumps thinking about what they are about to experience because it is so different. You can tell them about it, but until you are really in it you just don’t know.”
The only two meetings in women’s hoops between Auburn and St. John’s happened the previous two seasons. Auburn has played Baylor just once, winning the 2003 WNIT?title game in Waco. Auburn has never played Idaho.
Auburn, which is 19-13, is making its 19th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and the Tigers have a record of 29-18 all-time with three Final Four appearances.