Fortner's Tigers Looking For 22nd Victory

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn will look to keep pace in the SEC women's basketball race with a 6 p.m. home game on Thursday vs. the Ole Miss Rebels at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Coach Nell Fortner's sixth-ranked Tigers are 6-1 in the league in a tie for first with Vanderbilt and Florida. The Tigers have beaten Florida and haven't played Vandy. Tennessee and Georgia are a game back at 5-2.

Ole Miss is 3-4 in the SEC and 14-8 overall while Auburn has lost just once, a week ago at Georgia, and has 21 victories.

"Ole Miss is a really hard-nosed, tough team," Fortner says. "They have got good coverage on their perimeter and play a tough match-up zone. They can get out there defensively and you have to be really smart about how you attack it."

Junior guard Bianca Thomas leads Ole Miss in scoring at 14.0 points per game while forward Shawn Goff is scoring 13.5 points with a team-leading 5.7 rebounds per contest.

Senior DeWanna Bonner, who is averaging 21 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, leads Auburn and the SEC in scoring. She is 11th nationally in points per game. In her last home game in a victory vs. Tennessee prior to road trips to Georgia and LSU, Bonner set a personal scoring record with 35 points.

DeWanna Bonner is a candidate for SEC Player of the Year honors and All-America honors.

Auburn leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 25-21, but Fortner is just 2-4 as Auburn's head coach vs. the Lady Rebels. In the last meeting, Ole Miss won 76-68 in February 2008 in Oxford, Miss., despite the Tigers getting 25 points from current senior Sherell Hobbs and 22 from Bonner.

Auburn comes into this year's game vs. Ole Miss following a 66-55 road win vs. LSU on Sunday as sophomore guard Allie Smalley sparked a second half comeback and led all scorers with 21 points. She tied her career high by making five three-point field goals, including three straight to start the second half. That gave Auburn the lead to the Tigers and they held it the rest of the game.

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