Fortner's Tigers Looking for Big Finish

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn will try to cool a hot Arkansas basketball team as Coach Nell Fortner's Tigers look to wrap up their regular season without having to share their SEC women's basketball championship.

A win by the Tigers on Sunday would improve Auburn to 27-2 overall and 12-2 in the league and would also give the Tigers the No. 1 seed for the league tournament.

Arkansas comes into Sunday's 2 p.m. tipoff on a five-game winning streak that has improved its record to 17-11 overall and 6-7 in the SEC. A win over Auburn would go a long way toward helping the Lady Razorbacks get onto the NCAA tournament bubble.

Auburn has a one-game lead in the SEC race over Vanderbilt, one of the two teams to defeat the Tigers this season. An Auburn victory or a loss by Vandy at Tennessee on Sunday would make the Tigers the number one seed for the conference tournament.

Last week the Tigers clinched a first place finish with a win over Georgia and Vandy's loss to Ole Miss. Auburn has already earned a bye for the opening round of the league tournament and will open play on Friday in the quarter-finals at North Little Rock, Ark.

Also on Sunday it will be Senior Day as four Auburn starters will be honored. The group includes point guard Whitney Boddie, guard/forward DeWanna Bonner, guard Sherell Hobbs and post player Trevesha Jackson. That group has helped the Tigers produce an 81-42 record the past four seasons.

Arkansas is led by freshman Ceira Rickets, who is averaging 13 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Ayana Brereton is averaging 10.4 points with 5.6 rebounds while Lyndsay Harris averages 10.2 points per game.

Whitney Boddie shoots for the Tigers.

Bonner leads the Tigers and SEC in scoring at 20.8 points per game and is averaging 8.6 rebounds. Hobbs is scoring 12.4 points per game and is joined in double figures by sophomore guard Alli Smalley at 12.1 points and Whitney Boddie, who is scoring 10.9 points and averaging an SEC-leading 8.1 assists per game.

Fortner says she is expecting a tough test on Sunday from an Arkansas team that is playing well. "I think you can get on a roll, and you get that confidence and your offense is clicking, you're shooting the ball a little better, and all of a sudden you're beating people," she says. "I think they're a very confident team right now."

Auburn won the first matchup this year with a 70-61 decision at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. Bonner led the Tigers in that game with 19 points and 14 rebounds while Boddie scored 12 points and added 10 assists. KeKe Carrier and Hobbs scored 10 points apiece for the Tigers.

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