Feb. 27, 2013
Scouting The Commodores
The Vanderbilt women's basketball team (18-9, 8-6 SEC) looks to cap its home schedule with a win over Auburn and go 12-2 at home on the year. The Commodores are led into the game by reigning ESPNW National Player of the Week, Tiffany Clarke. Clarke is averaging 16.4 points per game and coming off a 30-point performance in Vanderbilt's 61-51 upset of No. 10/13 Texas A&M on Sunday. The senior forward also earned SEC Player of the Week honors last week, adding a 26-point performance in a win at Florida last Thursday. Likely joining Clarke in the starting lineup will be the team's other two seniors, Elan Brown and Gabby Smith. Brown is averaging 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while Smith is posting 1.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per outing. Junior Jasmine Lister will run the point. The guard is averaging 12.0 points and 5.6 assists per game. Lister has averaged 17.3 points per game over the last four contests (all played without junior guard Christina Foggie, who averages 15.7 points per game). Expected to round out the starting five is freshman forward Heather Bowe. The Eau Claire, Wis., native has started nine games during her rookie campaign, averaging 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. First off the bench will be freshman guards Jasmine Jenkins and Morgan Batey and freshman forwards Kendall Shaw and Rayte'a Long. Foggie and sophomore guard Kady Schrann remain day-to-day with knee and ankle injuries, respectively.
Scouting The Tigers
Auburn travels to West End with a 15-12 mark (4-10 SEC) under first-year Head Coach Terri Flournoy-Williams. The Tigers are led in scoring by Hasina Muhammad at 15.3 points per outing, while Tyrese Tanner contributes 12.7 points and Blanche Alverson adds 12.2 points per game. Alverson is also the team's leading rebounder at 6.0 boards per contest. Running the point is 5-1 guard Najat Ouardad, who's 6.1 assists per game lead the SEC. Completing the starting five most the season has been Peyton Davis, who averages 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. After losing eight-straight games, the Tigers have won two of their last three - a 70-53 win over rival Auburn, an 83-61 loss at Tennessee and a 67-59 win over Missouri.
The Series - Vanderbilt vs. Auburn
The Commodores and Tigers will be meeting for the 43rd time on Thursday night, with Vanderbilt holing a 26-16 edge in the series. The teams first met in 1978 and have met at least one a season since 1980-81. Auburn won 16 of the first 23 contests through the 1999-2000 season, but Vanderbilt has won every game since. The Commodores' 19-game winning streak against Auburn is the longest active streak against any opponent. The teams met twice last year, with Vanderbilt winning 66-58 at Memorial Gym and 66-61 at Auburn Arena.
Head Coach Melanie Balcomb has averaged 23 wins per season during her decade on West End. With that pace, she now stands tied with 2013 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee Jim Foster for the most wins in Vanderbilt women's basketball history at 256. Balcomb will look to become the program's all-time winningest coach on Thursday night against Auburn.
End of the Road
Vanderbilt women's basketball will honor its three seniors both prior to and at the conclusion of their final home game at Memorial Gym on Thursday Night. Elan Brown, Tiffany Clarke and Gabby Smith will be honored approximately 20 minutes prior to the start of the game with Auburn. The group has won 84 games over the past four years, reaching the NCAA Tournament each of the past three seasons. Combined, they have played in over 350 games and scored 2,250 points. All three will graduate in May, keeping Head Coach Melanie Balcomb's graduation rate of four-year players at 100%.
Hoops for Kids
Thursday will also mark the final opportunity for fans to donate to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt on behalf of the Hoops for Kids program. Hoops for Kids and Vanderbilt Children's Hospital are the organization the senior class has chosen to raise awareness for at their senior night. For more information on what you can donate, visit the Hoops for Kids page. 500 t-shirts supporting the cause will be distributed at the door tomorrow night.
Watching at Home
The game begins at 4:00 p.m. and can be seen on CSS and ESPN3. Matt Stewart and Joe Ciampi will have the call. On the radio, the game can be heard on WNRS 560 AM, with Joe Fisher filling in for Charlie Mattos.
On Deck - Georgia
Vanderbilt conclude the 2012-13 regular season at No. 11/11 Georgia. Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on ESPNU.