Fortner Disappointed Not To Make NCAA Field

Auburn, Ala.--First-year Auburn women's basketball coach Nell Fortner vowed Sunday that her future AU teams will not miss the NCAA Basketball Tournament field.

"It is obviously very disappointing," says Fortner, whose 16-13 Tigers were hoping to get into the field because of a high RPI and a very high strength of schedule index.

"We knew we were a bubble team and our chances were 50-50 and it didn't go our way," Fortner says. "This will serve as great motivation for the players returning. It is not going to happen to Auburn women's basketball again and that is the only way we can look at it right now."

The Tigers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year in Joe Ciampi's last year as head coach. AU was eliminated by eventual national champion UConn.

This year's team probably needed to win either one more regular season conference game or advance to the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament to make the NCAA field.

Only five SEC teams were selected for the 64-team tournament, which is an unusually low number for the conference which has had six or more every season since 1992.

LSU, the number overall seed nationally, is joined by another No. 1 seed, Tennessee, in this year's event. LSU won the SEC regular season title while Tennessee won the SEC Tournament.

Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Georgia also made the field. Of that group, Ole Miss was the only team the Tigers defeated this season although they gave LSU two scares, losing by five points twice.

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