Fortner's Tigers Hoping for Good News

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Nell Fortner says she believes her Auburn team will hear its named called on Monday evening as the 64-team NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament field is announced.

The Tigers have a 20-11 record after defeating Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Women's Tournament in Nashville before losing a heartbreaker in the quarter-finals to No. 21 Vanderbilt.

Auburn is hoping to make its 17th NCAA women's tournament appearance and end a drought since playing in the 2004 event as a No. 7 seed. That year Coach Joe Ciampi's final Auburn team defeated North Carolina State 79-59 in Bridgeport, Conn., and lost 79-53 to UConn in round two at the same venue.

Auburn finished 7-7 in SEC play this season and with the league traditionally being the strongest in women's basketball that means her team's chances are good for a bid, Fortner contends.

"I think we put ourselves in a very good position," she said. "It comes down to what the committee thinks, obviously, but I really think we are good enough to get in."

The Tigers were ranked in the Top 25 earlier this season prior to losing point guard Whitney Boddie to academically ineligibility. Two of AU's three wins over Top 25 opponents at Ohio State and at Arizona State were with Boddie in the lineup.

Junior DeWanna Bonner leads the Tigers in scoring at 18.5 points per game and rebounds with 10.2 per contest.

The Tigers feature two other players scoring in double figures with junior Sherrell Hobbs at 13.2 points per outing and freshman Alli Smalley averaging 10.7.

In Auburn's last 12 games, the Tigers have posted a 7-5 record.

The Tigers have never been seeded lower than a No. 9 in their 16 NCAA appearances and have been a No. 1 seed three times. Their most frequent seeding spot has been at No. 3 and No. 7 with four trips into the tournament from those positions.

Last season the Tigers finished 21-13 with wins over UAB and Virginia Tech in the WNIT before losing to Kansas State to end the season.

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