Tigers To Face Tide In Women's Hoops

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Nell Fortner will get her first opportunity to coach in the Auburn-Alabama rivalry as her Tigers take on the Tide at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

The Tigers will be trying to snap out of a slump. Six straight losses have dropped Auburn's record to 9-8 overall and 0-4 in the SEC. Alabama is 11-6 overall and 2-2 in conference games.

The Tigers are led by senior guard Natasha Brackett, who is averaging 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Other starters for Auburn include 6-1 junior forward Louise Emeagi, who is averaging 11.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, 6-5 junior center Marita Payne (9.5 ppg 8.6 rpg), 6-2 freshman forward Alexis Ogubie (3.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and 5-7 senior point guard Nicole Louden (9.8 ppg 3.9 rpg).

Forward Louise Emeagi is a key player for Nell Fortner's Auburn team.

Auburn is trying to bounce back from an 81-71 loss to seventh-ranked Tennessee in a game the Tigers had a chance to win until the final minute.

Alabama is led by 5-10 sophomore guard Marverly Nettles, who averages 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Other starters for the Tide include 6-0 forward Natasha Gamble (11.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg), 6-4 junior center Dee Merriweather (4.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg), 5-9 sophomore guard Kate Mastin (5.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg) and 5-10 sophomore guard Navonda Moore (7.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

"Both of us might not be Top 10 teams, but this is definitely a Top 10 rivalry," Fortner says. "Any time these two teams are together it turns into a Top 10 game regardless of where either team is ranked. There is so much emotion involved that this game is always exciting."

Fortner is giving Ogubie her second start of the season. "We are starting Alexis because of the way she has been playing lately and the fact that she is part of this team's future. She is going to become very valuable to this program and come time for the SEC Tournament, we are going to need her to be a major part of the team. She is working hard to become more confident in her game and we are seeing her develop into an excellent scorer."


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