The Auburn women’s basketball team is looking to make it three and a row.
And the third time would be quite the charm.
Auburn hosts No. 7 Mississippi State tonight in Auburn Arena, tipping off one of its biggest on-court opportunities of the season at 6 p.m. in front of its home fans, with a chance to pick up a third straight win and one against one of the nation’s top teams.
Auburn enters off road wins last week at Florida and rival Alabama.
Mississippi State is 15-1 and 3-0 in the SEC, looking like every bit of the top-10 team it’s billed to be. Mississippi State’s only loss this season came on the road at Oregon across the country in December.
Auburn is 14-2 and 2-1 in the SEC, with its only conference loss coming close to perennial power Tennessee, now ranked No. 13.
Auburn led the Lady Vols for a spell in the fourth quarter of that contest, before Tennessee won in Auburn’s last home game.
The Tigers are looking to make it a different story today, and complete their upset bid.
Tonight’s game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Last Thursday against Alabama, Auburn’s Daisa Alexander led the Tigers with 22 points, as Auburn’s havoc-wreaking defense forced poked free 16 steals and forced 25 Tide turnovers, on the way to 28 points off turnovers for the Tigers.
Auburn leads the conference in steals per game, averaging 12.6 per game. To pull the upset against Mississippi State, the Tigers will look to make the most of their swarming defense.
Mississippi State is nation’s second-leading team in scoring offense, averaging 91.4 points per game.
The Bulldogs lead the conference in that mark, and are the SEC leaders in rebounds per game, averaging 42.1 per contest.
Mississippi State’s 6-foot-7 center Teaira McCowan is the SEC’s rebounding leader and blocks leader, and the league’s leader in shooting efficiency from the floor.
She’s averaging a double-double with a team-best 16.5 points per game and a league-best 13.5 rebounds per game. She’s averaging 2.6 blocks and making 66.3 percent of her field-goal shots.
Auburn’s mark of 12.6 steals per game is the nation’s sixth-best mark, and the Tigers’ turnover margin is the nation’s fifth-best at plus-7.75.
A strong performance will be needed for the Tigers tonight — but with one, Terri Williams-Flournoy’s team has another chance to make waves against another top team in Auburn Arena.
Auburn eventually lost 78-69 to Tennessee back on Jan. 3, but bounced back to beat Florida 64-56 and top Alabama 66-56.