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Auburn inconsistent in slow start

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Posted: Monday January 15, 2001 4:49 PM
Updated: Monday January 15, 2001 9:49 PM


By Seth Traub, Special to

The Auburn Tigers, who were in the top 10 as late as December, have gotten off to a slow start in SEC play. But, at 1-2 in the conference, Auburn is now teetering on the edge of both national polls.

Since winning the San Juan shootout in December, the Tigers are 1-4, including losses to three unranked teams.

Auburn won its SEC opener at home against Kentucky, but then lost two on the road.

Auburn coach Joe Ciampi said his team has had trouble staying consistent.

"What concerns me is the fact that we have high energy when we have a good offensive slope," Ciampi said. "When our offense is sputtering it seems that our defense sputters also. We have to change that approach both mentally and physically. We have discussed with the team that we need high energy to be consistent on defense."

The Tigers' schedule only gets worse from here on out as they face four ranked teams in a row: No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Florida in Gainesville, No. 4 Georgia in Athens and No. 21 Mississippi State.

In other games this week, at least one team will not be winless in the conference as someone will come out of Arkansas victorious when Kentucky visits the Razorbacks.

Coming of their tough win at home against Florida, Georgia travels to Louisiana State to face Sue Gunter's squad that is coming off two straight wins.

After that, the Lady Bulldogs will have to regroup as they play their second top-10 foe in as many weeks when they travel to Tennessee. Last year, Georgia beat the Lady Vols in Athens by 27.

Ross empathizes with Florida's men's coach

The injury problems coach Billy Donovan and the UF men's basketball team are suffering early in the SEC season are similar to ones suffered by the women's team in the past, and coach Carol Ross feels Donovan's pain.

The men lost their two leading scorers to injuries in the last two weeks. Senior Brent Wright had surgery to correct a stress fracture in his right foot and junior Teddy Dupay is out with a herniated disk in his lower back.

Last season, Ross lost her leading player, Brandi McCain, to a broken leg. In previous seasons losses to star players, including Murriel Page and Tonya Washington during their careers, have hampered the Gators' success.

"I haven't talked to Billy because I am sure there is not much that can be said," Ross said. "Hopefully they'll heal up and put themselves into the position to make a run."

This season, Ross has two players sidelined with anterior cruciate ligament injuries: freshman Tara Taylor and Jacksonville transfer Kelly Stevenson.

"When you have injuries you expect other people to step up a notch and compensate for the absence on the court. I think they have done that pretty well," Ross said. "If the shot doesn't drop in South Carolina, no one is talking about it, but as fate would have it sometimes it magnifies things. They'll be OK."

Player of the Week

Prior to Tennessee's win over South Carolina on Thursday, the crowd of almost 10,000 in Thompson-Boling Arena applauded Gamecock forward Teresa Geter during player introductions.

Geter, who transferred from Tennessee in fall 1999 to be closer to her family in Columbia, was named player of the week after a pair of impressive performances.

In the Gamecocks upset win against Auburn, Geter set a new career high with six blocks, three of which occurred within two minutes and 30 seconds of each other in the second half.

During that game, she scored 20 points -- 12 in the second half -- by connecting on nine of 13 from the field and making just her second career 3-pointer.

It was her sixth game this season in double figures. She also grabbed eight rebounds, had three steals and passed two assists during her 35 minutes of action.

In their SEC-opening win against Arkansas, Geter went six of six from the free throw line to contribute 10 points.

Seth Traub is a reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, the student paper that serves the University of Florida

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