Rutgers 80

(21-12, 9-7 Big East)

Auburn 52

(30-4, 12-2 SEC)

    7:00 PM ET, March 23, 2009

    1 2 T
    RUTG 43 3780
    AUB 28 2452

    Top Performers

    Rutgers: E. Prince 27 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    Auburn: D. Bonner 17 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Auburn-Rutgers Preview


    For Auburn to move on to the Oklahoma City Regional semifinals, they'll need to win in what should be quite a hostile environment.

    The second-seeded Tigers take on No. 7 seed Rutgers at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, the Scarlet Knights' home court, Monday night.

    "They're a great team," Auburn senior DeWanna Bonner said. "They're somebody you want to play. I think we're prepared for it. They're a team you see on the TV all the time, 'Oh man, I wish we could play Rutgers and see how we match up."

    Auburn, 22-2 all-time against lower-seeded teams, has never faced Rutgers in tournament play.

    Ranked eighth in the country coming into the NCAA tournament, the Tigers (30-3) showed no rust Saturday after a two-week layoff as they routed 15th-seeded Lehigh 85-49. Bonner, the SEC player of the year, helped key an early 21-3 spurt and finished with 26 points.

    "I think we were just anxious," said Bonner, a slight 6-foot-4 senior guard-forward who scores a team-best 21.0 points per game. "We haven't played in a while, almost two weeks, so we were just anxious to get out there. So we had to calm down and think about what we wanted to do on offense and get open shots, and that's what we did after."

    The Tigers fell 66-56 to George Washington in the opening round last year.

    "When you lose in the first round, you don't want that to happen again," Bonner said. "So we just wanted to come out and have better focus. It all has to do with our seed. We had a great seed this year, and we just have more confidence."

    Senior guard Whitney Boddie, academically ineligible during last year's tournament, finished with eight points and nine assists. Boddie led the nation with 8.1 assists per game this season, and said playing on Rutgers' home court -- where the Scarlet Knights went 13-4 -- wouldn't be a problem.

    "We're real comfortable," she said. "I think that's when your competitive juices start flowing, when you're in a hostile environment, and it just brings the competitive nature out of you."

    For Auburn to move on, it will need to stop Epiphanny Prince. The junior guard scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half and finished with 11 rebounds in the Scarlet Knights' 57-51 win over No. 10 seed VCU on Saturday.

    "Coach (C. Vivian Stringer) always tells me, Kia (Vaughn) and Brittany (Ray), we're the keepers of the house," Prince said. "I saw we were down and I tried to be aggressive. My jumpers weren't falling and coach told me to drive and it was successful for me to do it."

    Prince, averaging a team-high 19.2 points, has totaled 51 in her last two contests.

    Vaughn went 6-of-12 from the field and had 13 points versus VCU. It was the eighth straight game in which the senior center shot at least 50.0 percent.

    Like Auburn, Rutgers (20-12) is riding a wave of confidence in the NCAA tournament. Despite a seventh-place finish in the Big East, the Scarlet Knights gave unbeaten and top-ranked Connecticut a tough game in the regular-season finale and took Louisville to double overtime in the quarterfinals of the conference tourney before falling.

    Monday's winner will meet third-seeded North Carolina or No. 6 seed Purdue in Oklahoma City on Sunday.


    Gameday Matchup

    Avg Points62.977.0
    Avg Points Allowed54.960.9
    Home Record13-416-1
    Road Record6-813-2
    Current StreakL1L1

    School Info

    Conference Big Ten SEC
    Nickname Scarlet Knights Tigers
    Type Public Public


    » Mar 23, 2009 RUTG 80, @AUB 52Recap | Box Score

    Starting Lineup

    RUTG (PPG)
    AUB (PPG)
    C  K. Vaughn F  T. Jackson
    F  H. Zurich G  A. Smalley
    G  E. Prince G  D. Bonner
    G  B. Ray G  W. Boddie
    G  K. Rushdan G  S. Hobbs