Emeagi Puts On A Show In Exhibition Opener

Auburn, Ala.--Junior Louise Emeagi showed something old and something new as she led her Auburn women's basketball team to an 84-56 victory over EA Sports on Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum in the exhibition opener of the Nell Fortner era.

Emeagi, a tireless worker on the court who has often been likened to "The Energizer Bunny," was full speed ahead for her new coach and finished with an impressive line score. She hit eight of her 10 shots in the first half and finished the contest with 25 points and 16 rebounds.

Emeagi was 3-3 on three-pointers, had four assists, two steals and just one turnover in 31 minutes of play. She missed just two of her 13 field goal attempts.

The new aspects of her game for the high energy player were here calmness at the start and her good play at a new position, the power forward spot.

"In my previous years I have been playing guard, but mostly I will be playing inside this season," Emeagi said. "I might swing outside at times. I will set a few screens, take a few shots myself, play good defense and try to help out the team with rebounding."

Louise Emeagi takes aim on the way to hitting a three-point shot in the second half.

Emeagi played liked a poised veteran from the start to finish of her 31 minutes of court time on Sunday. "Last year I had a problem with anxiety," she said. "I would get really nervous before games. I have been working on that and it seemed to me it paid off in this game."

Fortner said she likes what she saw from Emeagi, but noted that the Tigers have work to do prior to their next exhibition game in eight days.

"Louise is such a versatile player," Fortner said. "She can do so many things. She can shoot the three, she can put it on the floor. She is a versatile 6-1 player who runs like a gazelle. I like her at the four spot because she can move out big people away from the basket.

"In these types of games I think you are just trying to get the jitters out," Fortner added. "Let them run up and down the floor and work out the nervousness. I think you will see a better team next week. I don't think we were great on either end of the floor. I thought we played hard, we boxed out and didn't give up as many rebounds as that team is used to getting. We held them to 56 points and I believe we are the first team to do that."

Emeagi agreed with the coach that the Tigers still have plenty to do as they learn new offensive and defensive systems. "It is an exhibition game so it was about learning, trying to get our offenses going and unfortunately we didn't really get through our offenses, but we still managed to score 84 points, which is a good feat in itself," she said.

Including Emeagi, veteran players led the Tigers vs. EA Sports. Junior center Marita Payne scored 14 points and added eight rebounds for Auburn. Senior guard Natasha Brackett scored 12 points to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Senior point guard Nicole Louden dished out seven assists with just one turnover and added seven points and a steal.

Former University of Florida standout, Tanya Washington, led EA Sports with 14 points. Courtney McDaniel, formerly of Tennessee, scored 13 and former UConn guard Maria Conlon added 12. Tia Miller, a former Auburn center, scored four points and added three rebounds in 11 minutes on the court.

Emeagi said that Auburn will be relying on the older players every night. "It is going to be the juniors and seniors that carry our team this year," she said. "EA Sports is a great team, but I didn't think they played very well today so we couldn't get a true understanding of where we are at."

Fortner said that a pair of newcomers did some good things in their collegiate debuts. "Sparkle Davis and Alexis Ogubie, the two freshmen, had some good minutes," Fortner said. Ogubie scored nine points with four rebounds in just seven minutes of action. Davis played 15 minutes. She pulled in two rebounds, but did not score.

Auburn returns to action on Nov. 15th at 7 p.m. with an exhibition game vs. Athletes In Action at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

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