Boddie Hungry for Success In NCAA Tournament

Auburn women's basketball standout Whitney Boddie discusses her team's upcoming trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior point guard Whitney Boddie says she is excited about her first opportunity to play in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Boddie, who became academically ineligible after the first semester her junior year, missed Auburn's trip to the 2008 tournament and had to watch it on TV back home in Auburn.

"My teammates let me know that once you get to that tournament and lose that first game it really leaves a bitter taste in your mouth," says Boddie, whose Tigers go into this year's tournament as a number two seed with a 29-3 record. "You want to get back and we have been hungry ever since."

The Tigers were an 11th seed last year when they lost to George Washington in the opening round. This year the Tigers have their highest seed since being the number two seed in the 1990 when AU finished as the NCAA runnerup losing to Stanford in the title game.

The Tigers will take on 15th-seed Lehigh of the Patriot League on Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT on the homecourt of Rutgers in New Jersey. The Tigers have never played Lehigh in women's hoops.

The winner of that game takes on the winner of Rutgers vs. VCU on Monday with the winner of that contest advancing into the Sweet 16. AU is 1-0 all-time vs. both Rutgers and VCU.

"It is a good draw," the All-SEC guard contends. "It is competitive, but you want to be challenged every night. A two seed, I couldn't have asked for anything better. Obviously, we wanted to be a number one seed, but it didn't work out that way.

"If we win our first round game, and we are not looking past Lehigh by any means, we will probably get Rutgers to play them in what is basically a home game for them and it is going to be good," Boddie says. "We like going on the road and beating people so it is going to be good stuff."

The Tigers will have had a two-week layoff from competition when they take the court in New Jersey since their last game, an upset loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament finals in North Little Rock, Ark.

Asked what that setback to Vandy taught the Tigers, Boddie says, "We have got to play hard. You have to play every possession like it is your last. I feel Vanderbilt might have outworked us. I don't think they wanted it more, but it seemed like that with the way they played.

"We feel like we are the best team every time we step out on the floor, but we have got to go out there and play like it and not take anyone for granted, not take anyone lightly," Boddie adds. "We are going to definitely use that as motivation."

Boddie goes into the NCAA Tournament as the national leader in assists with 8.1 per game and her assistance will be required if the Tigers are going to make a strong run in postseason play. This week she and teammate DeWanna Bonner were named as finalists for Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America team and Boddie is also a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the top point guard in Division I women's basketball.

Tipoff time for Auburn's opening round game vs. Lehigh, champion of the Patriot League, is 11 a.m. CDT in Piscataway, N.J. The game will be televised on ESPN2.


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