16-0 AU Plays Host to 15-1 Florida

A pair of nationally-ranked women's basketball teams will face off on Sunday in Auburn.

Auburn, Ala.--Two of the most successful women's basketball teams in the country this season will square off at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Ninth-ranked Auburn, 16-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, will take on 18th-ranked Florida, which is 15-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

Auburn leads the series 30-14, but the Gators won the last outing 73-67 last season in Gainesville and are 5-5 in their last 10 games vs. Auburn, which has won 12 of the 16 matchups in Auburn.

Coach Nell Fortner says her Tigers will need to do a good job of controlling the three-point shooting of the Gators, who are making 6.6 per game compared to 3.8 for Auburn.

"Florida has shot the three about 150 times more than we have and when you have six players that are three-point threats that is tough to defend," says Fortner. "It opens up the floor a lot and gives post players more one-on-one opportunities and makes them a tough offensive team to guard. They have a fire lit under them and they are rolling."

Auburn leads the SEC in three-point shooting percentage at 47.7 and Florida is number two at 43.8 percent.

The Gators are just the second Top 25 opponent so far this season for Auburn, which knocked off No. 17 Ohio State in a home game 87-80 on Nov. 23rd.

Florida has wins over 21st-ranked FSU (72-57), 19th-ranked Arizona State (65-60) and 16th-ranked Pitt (90-83). The only loss came in the season opener, 88-86 to Florida Gulf Coast, a college in Fort Myers that plays in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The Tigers and Gators have played three common foes. Auburn beat UAB by 29 and Florida beat the Blazers by two points. Florida defeated North Carolina State by five and Auburn won by 15. The Gators beat Coppin State by 41 points while Auburn won by 28.

DeWanna Bonner is an All-SEC player for the Tigers.

Auburn opened league play on Thursday night with an 80-76 victory at South Carolina as seniors DeWanna Bonner and Whitney Boddie led the Tigers. Bonner, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, scored 29 points and Boddie added 21. Bonner is the SEC's top scorer at 19.4 points per contest.

Florida opened league play with an 80-66 home victory over Mississippi State. Guard Sha Brooks scored a career-high 31 points in that game for the Gators.

"Florida has Sha Brooks (14.5 points per game) and Marshae Dotson (12.1), two seniors that we are pretty familiar with," said Fortner. "Whitney Boddie has gone against Sha her whole career and DeWanna has gone against Marshae her whole career." Brooks averages 14.5 points a game with Dotson right behind her at 12.1.

"It is going to be a tough game," Fortner says. "Florida is very good and you are looking at the two highest-scoring offenses in the conference. I think we both play tough defense and it is going to be a battle."

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