UAB Takes on 11th Ranked Auburn, Wednesday Night

Dec. 5, 2000

After getting off to a 5-2 start following last year's Sweet 16 appearance, UAB will try to further make a name for itself when it takes on 11th ranked and undefeated Auburn, Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Beard-Eaves Coliseum in Auburn.

The Lady Blazers already have a win over Kansas, which turned around and defeated 24th-ranked Illinois. UAB also has one of the top players in the nation in junior forward Deanna Jackson (6-foot-2), who is averaging 29.3 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. Jackson went over the 30-point mark twice last week.

However, Auburn is the toughest opponent so far for the Lady Blazers. The Tigers are 7-0 and only once has a game been decided by less than 20-points. That was a 70-55 win over IUPUI. Auburn won the South Florida Classic with a 106-37 win over Arkansas-Little Rock.

Auburn is averaging winning by nearly 34 points per game. UAB on the other had is winning games by an average of six points per game, but has faced a little tougher schedule.

The two teams to which UAB has lost Nevada and North Texas tied for their division championship in the Big West last year. Both have bolted for new leagues this year, where they should be a factor. North Texas won the Air Force Classic and is 6-0 on the year.

Other than the scoring margins, the two teams have similar statistics. Both teams are shooting 47.5 percent from the field. UAB is shooting 39 percent from 3-point range and Auburn 34 percent. The biggest difference is defense, where UAB's opponents are shooting 41 percent and Auburn's 33 percent.

Auburn has three players averaging in double figures. Center Lori Nero (6-2) leads the way with 14.4 points per game. Guard Carol Smith (5-5), a junior college transfer, is scoring 14 and guard Tasha Hamilton (5-10) 13.7.

For UAB, in addition to Jackson, senior guard Mia Thrash (5-9) is averaging 12.7 points per game. Freshman forward Natasha Thomas (6-2) is scoring 9.6 points a game and recorded her second double-double of the year, and her career with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Center Shaquetta Rhodes is second on the team in rebounding with six boards per game. She is scoring eight points a game.

Brandi Stallings is averaging 7.3 points at her guard spot and has made 13-of-30 three-point attempts (43.3 percent).

This is the first of two straight in-state road game for UAB. They play at Jacksonville State next Tuesday, Dec. 12.