Jan. 8, 2012
AUBURN - Auburn committed a season-high 30 turnovers, leading to 25 Georgia points, as the Tigers (9-7, 1-2 SEC) dropped a 70-45 decision to No. 16/15 Georgia (13-3, 2-1 SEC) Sunday afternoon at Auburn Arena. Freshman Hasina Muhammad led all scorers with 15 points in the loss.
"Georgia came out and played hard defensively, which made it very hard for us to run any effective offensive," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "Their defense was very good today, and our offense was not."
Auburn struggled from the field, shooting just 27.1 percent. Sixteen of Auburn's points came at the free throw line as the Tigers took advantage of the Bulldogs' pressure defense to draw fouls. Muhammad set a pair of career highs, shooting 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Georgia pounced on the Tigers early, taking a 17-point, 21-4 lead midway through the first half. Jasmine James scored nine of her 14 points in that stretch to give her team the early lead.
"Georgia's defense was the reason for our slow start, they were trapping us all over the court and we just could not get out of it," said Fortner. "We couldn't see through it, make passes out of it, and handle it very well. That is what put us back on our heels from the beginning. It felt like we were constantly climbing out of a hole all day."
Auburn battled back and cut the lead to single digits after a pair of Jassany Williams free throws with 3:15 left in the half cut it to 25-16. Muhammad and Camille Glymph scored four points each during the 12-4 run for Auburn.
The Tigers scored just one more point in the half, on a Morgan Jennings free throw, taking a 30-17 deficit into the locker room.
Auburn kept pace with Georgia for the first six minutes of the second half, cutting the lead to 12 after a three-point play by Muhammad, but that would be as close as the Tigers would come. Georgia responded with a 19-2 run that put the game away, leading by as many as 30 points with 3:52 left in the game.
Muhammad and Blanche Alverson, who finished with 13 points, traded buckets for the Tigers in the final minutes, cutting the lead back down to 20 at one point, but the Bulldogs held on for the 70-45 win.
Sophomore Tyrese Tanner led Auburn's defensive effort, pulling down six rebounds with a career-high four blocked shots. Jassany Williams also came off the bench for three blocked shots, helping the Tigers to 10 on the game.
James and Jasmine Hassell led Georgia with 14 points each, followed by Khaalidah Miller with 12 and Meredith Mitchell with 10. Mitchell neared a double-double with eight rebounds while Anne Marie Armstrong tallied team highs of five assists and four blocks.
With the Georgia game in the books, Auburn will hit the road for the next week for games at Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
"We just have to get up tomorrow and get back to work, that's all you can do," said Fortner. "You can't get too high over a win or too low over loss. This conference season moves way to fast, so we have to be constantly preparing for the next opponent and be ready to play."
Tipoff against No. 21 Vanderbilt (13-2, 1-1 SEC) is set for 8 p.m. CT, Thursday at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn. The game will air live on CSS. The Commodores downed Ole Miss 68-52 in their Sunday game.