Battle of the Tigers, Auburn To Face TSU

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team is off to a 7-0 start for the second-consecutive season and will look to improve that mark to 8-0 with a victory over the visiting Tennessee State Tigers (1-2) Wednesday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Tip off for the battle of the Tigers is set for 7 p.m.

Stingy defense and solid inside-out play on the offensive end has propelled the Tigers to their fast start. They are beating their opponents by an average of 17.2 points and holding them to just 34.8 percent shooting from the field.

Sophomore center Tia Miller leads the team in scoring with an average of 13.0 points per game, but it's been senior Carol Smith who has been the catalyst for the Tigers. Auburn's point guard is averaging 12.3 points and four assists per game and is shooting a collective 49.2 percent from the field. That includes a 12-25 effort from three-point range.

After sitting out last season, sophomore Le'Coe Willingham is quickly regaining the form that saw her earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 1999. The six-foot forward is scoring 11.9 points per game and pulling down a team-high eight rebounds an outing.

The visiting Tigers will try to slow down an Auburn team that is shooting 48 percent from the field as a team and outrebounding its opponents by 10 boards a game. Tennessee State is led by senior forward LaRissa Thomas. The five-foot-eleven forward is averaging 17.0 points and 11.0 rebounds through three games for the Ohio Valley Conference school.

Auburn opened the 2000 campaign 11-0 only to falter down the stretch and finish with a 17-12 record and 5-9 conference mark. The school record for wins to open a season is 29. The Tigers accomplished that feat in the 1988-1989 season which was the last time these two schools squared off. Auburn won that meeting 104-30.

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