No. 3 LSU Offers Test In SEC Opener

Auburn, Ala.--After a solid pre-conference performance, a youthful Auburn women's basketball team will take on unbeaten LSU in the conference opener on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

LSU features one of the nation's top performers, 6-1 senior guard Seimone Augustus, who averages 19.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Coach Nell Fortner's Tigers, who are 9-4, are led by 6-4 freshman guard DeWanna Bonner from Fairfield, who is averaging 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Bonner was named MVP of the Surf 'N Slam Tournament in San Diego as the Tigers defeated Loyola of Maryland in the finals, 76-54, in their last outing on Dec. 30th.

A boost for the team has been the performance of senior guard Nitasha Brown, a 5-9 senior who is averaging 11.3 points and 5.4 assists. Those are significantly better numbers than she posted her first three seasons at AU. She joined Bonner of the Sun 'N Slam All-Tournament team.

Other projected starters for the Tigers include 6-5 center Marita Payne (9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds per game),6-2 sophomore forward Aileen Rossouw (3.3 points, 2.5 rebounds per game) and 5-9 freshman guard (9.8 points, 4.2 assists per game).

LSU, which is 11-0, features a very productive center in 6-6 sophomore Sylvia Fowles, who is averaging 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.

LSU, which is ranked third nationally, defeated North Carolina A&T 99-35 on New Year's Day.

"LSU is a well-oiled machine," Fortner says. "They are extremely talented, but we feel we are playing them at a good time. They are incredibly hard to match up with. We don't have anyone that can match up with Sylvia Fowles. There is no answer for her.

"Then you have Seimone Augustus, who will most likely be the National Player of the Year again," Fortner adds. "You have to worry about the rest of the team as well. They have an outstanding defense. This will be a great challenge for us. You have to play the perfect game against LSU." The game will be televised regionally by Fox Sports South."


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