Up Tempo Game Expected As Aggies Visit BEMC

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Nell Fortner likes to see her team play a fast-paced game and on Wednesday night the Tigers will face an opponent that likes to run, too.

Tipoff is 6 p.m. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum as the Auburn women's basketball team tries to run its record to 8-0 vs. 3-2 North Carolina A&T. The Tigers are ranked 13th and 14th this week in the polls.

The Aggies have five starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that finished 25-8 last year and won the MEAC with a 15-1 record.

> "North Carolina A&T is a pretty good team," Fortner says. "Their record might not reflect it, but they're very fast and they can get up and down the floor and they shoot the ball well. They're better than what their record reflects so it'll be an up and down game.

The Tigers are coming off victories over North Carolina State (66-51) and host Florida International University (63-52) at the FIU Thanksgiving Tournament in Miami.

"It was a good weekend in terms of being able to compete for a championship and getting that experience," Fortner says. "I thought we had some good play over the weekend, and Alli Smalley shot the ball really well. We had some good solid performances. DeWanna Bonner continues to lead the team, and had good play off the bench. It was a good weekend for us."

DeWanna Bonner is having a strong senior season as predicted.

Bonner leads the Tigers in scoring at 19.1 points per game and is also the top rebounder at 8.3 per contest.

Alli Smalley, the tournament MVP in Miami, is averaging 15 points per contest going into Wednesday's contest.

North Carolina A&T is led by 6-0 forward Brittany Taylor James, who is averaging 16.8 points and 7.0 rebounds, along with 5-11 guard Amber Bland, who is scoring 15 points per game with 7.8 rebounds.

The last time Auburn played North Carolina AT&T was in 2003, an 89-54 victory for the Tigers.

"There's no way this team is going to overlook anybody," Fortner says this matchup. "We'll make sure of that as far as the coaching staff is concerned. We've got enough veterans on this team to understand how detrimental that can be to your team if you do that so I really look to their leadership to help us not have that happen to us.

"It's nice to be home for a week and not have to travel and pack and we're looking forward to playing in front of our fans," adds Fortner, whose team will play its final December home game on Friday night vs. Sam Houston State.

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