No. 17 Auburn Faces No. 15 Lady Gators

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team will open Southeastern Conference play with a 2 p.m. tipoff on Sunday vs. the visiting Florida Gators.

The 17th-ranked Tigers are 12-1 overall while 15th-ranked Florida is 10-4 overall and 0-1 in the SEC, losing to second-ranked Tennessee 88-64 on Thursday.

The Tigers have dominated this series with a 25-9 record vs. the Gators, but Florida won last year by a 72-59 count in Gainesville.

Auburn is led by 6-2 sophomore center Tia Miller, a player who was the subject of an intense recruiting battle between the Tigers and Florida, which is coached by Joe Ciampi's former assistant, Carol Ross. Miller is from Boca Ciega High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Details of the intense recruiting battle can be found in the January 2002 issue of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine.)

Miller, who averages 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, will be matched against Florida's leading scorer, 6-4 sophomore center Vanessa Hayden who is averaging 19 points and 12.6 rebounds.

Another key matchup will be at the point where Auburn's second leading scorer, Carol Smith, will go up against Brandi McCain. Smith, a five-foot-five senior, is averaging 10.5 points per game and 3.3 assists. McCain, a five-foot-three sophomore, is averaging 16.5 points and 5.3 assists.

Auburn has two other starters averaging in double figures in points. Le'Coe Willingham is contributing 10 points and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per outing. Junior forward Keisha Johnson is averaging 10.3 points and 5.8 rebounds.

The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

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