Last season, Auburn traveled to Atlanta as a heavy underdog against No. 18 Georgia Tech. That afternoon, the Tigers overwhelmed the Yellow Jackets — building a lead of as much as 22 points and clinging to a 59-51 win in the first of Auburn’s three league wins.
The Tigers and Yellow Jackets meet again at Neville Arena on Wednesday night when Nell Fortner returns to the Plains. Fortner, now in her fourth season as Georgia Tech head coach, spent eight seasons as Auburn’s head coach from 2004 to 2012.
Recently, Auburn’s home court has had an advantage over non-conference enemies. In head coach Johnnie Harris’ tenure, the Tigers are 8-1 in non-conference games at Neville Arena and have eight straight wins in such competitions.
Both teams go into the competition 2-0 after a week of play. Auburn defeated Sam Houston and South Alabama in opening week, while Georgia Tech picked up lopsided victories over state enemies Georgia State and Kennesaw State.
Aicha Coulibaly, Auburn’s top returning scorer, picked up where she left off last season. Coulibaly led the Tigers in both games last week, scoring 24 points in the opener against Sam Houston before scoring 19 points against South Alabama.
Freshman Kaitlyn Duhon averaged 13 points per game last week in an average of 27 minutes per game. Duhon appeared when needed on Thursday as she scored 17 goals with three players through illness in the win over the Jaguars.
Honesty Scott-Grayson, who averaged nine points per game in opening week, was a key player in Auburn’s win over the Yellow Jackets last season. In the Tigers’ surprise win in Atlanta last November, Scott-Grayson scored 18 points and played 40 minutes — the entire game.
Although the season is young, Georgia Tech has what it takes to be a steadfast defensive team. The Yellow Jackets rank sixth in the nation in goal defense and give up just 40.5 points per game.
Auburn counters with an attack that averages 80.5 points per game. The Tigers have attempted 51 free throws, 41 of them — an odds of over 80%. Coulibaly leads the team in attempted and executed free throws, shooting 12/14 at the free throw line.
Cameron Swartz, a Boston College graduate, led Georgia Tech in each of his first two games, scoring 19 against Georgia State and 14 against Kennesaw State. Nerea Hermosa, who had 11 points and nine rebounds against the Tigers last season, has six points in both games this season and is averaging seven rebounds per game.
Auburn and Georgia Tech have met four times, with the Tigers winning every previous matchup. Georgia Tech was seeded 9th in last season’s NCAA tournament, losing to Kansas in the first round. The Yellow Jackets are the first of 11 separate NCAA tournament teams beginning in 2022 on Auburn’s roster this season.
Tipp-off for Wednesday’s contest between the Tigers and Yellow Jackets will take place at 7:00 p.m. CST and will be broadcast live on SEC Network+.
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Matthew is a sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama. This is his first year with The Auburn Plainsman.
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