Fortner Hopeful As AU Opens SEC Tournament

North Little Rock, Ark.--The Auburn women's basketball team, which finished the regular season with a 4-10 conference record to receive a No. 10 seed, will play South Carolina, the No. 7 seed, in the SEC tournament at 2:30 p.m. CST on Thursday.

The Gamecocks finished at 7-7 in the SEC and 17-10 overall, including a 58-46 victory over the Tigers in Auburn on Feb. 16.

The loss to the Gamecocks was the fourth consecutive loss at the time for Auburn, which was inconsistent and up and down throughout the season.

"I don't think that there is any question that we are a different team than when we played them," says Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We were just dealing with some things at that time that affected us. We have gotten back on track and that feels good. This team is excited about going to the tournament."

The winner of the South Carolina vs. Auburn game will have the task of playing the Tennessee Lady Vols in the next round. Tennessee finished the season at 25-4 overall and 11-3 in the SEC, but Fortner says her young team is still hoping to make a run and get a bid into postseason.

"We definitely want to play in the postseason," Fortner says. "Obviously, we would have to win the SEC tournament to go to the NCAA tournament. There is the WNIT and we would definitely love to play in that. Postseason is very important for this young team. Even the conference tournament is important for us to get them that experience. Hopefully, we are playing a little past that also."

The youthful Tigers are led by a pair of SEC All-Freshman team picks, guard DeWanna Bonner and center Keke Carrier.

Auburn's game will be televised by Fox Sports South. Tournament matchups with overall, conference records in parenthesis (All times CST):

Thursday
Game 1: #9 Arkansas (13-14, 5-9) vs. #8 Ole Miss (15-12, 5-9) at noon.
Game 2: #10 Auburn (13-14, 4-10) vs. #7 South Carolina (17-10, 7-7) at 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: #12 Mississippi State (6-21, 1-13) vs. #5 Florida (20-7, 8-6) at 6:30 p.m.
Game 4: #11 Alabama (9-18, 3-11) vs. #6 Vanderbilt (19-9, 8-6) at 8:50 p.m.

Friday
Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. #1 LSU (25-2, 13-1) at noon.
Game 6: Game 2 winner vs. #2 Tennessee (25-4, 11-3) at 2:30 p.m.
Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. #4 Kentucky (20-7, 9-5) at 6:30 p.m.
Game 8: Game 4 winner vs. #3 Georgia (20-7, 10-4) at 8:50 p.m.

Saturday
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner at 6:30 p.m.
Game 10: Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner at 8:50 p.m.

Sunday
Game 11: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner at 5 p.m.

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