KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tra'Cee Tanner had her sixth double-double of the season, but Auburn fell at No. 12/11 Tennessee 79-52 Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Tigers (11-5, 1-2 SEC) finished their third-straight game against top-12 competition and will look to get back on the winning track at 6 p.m. Thursday as Alabama visits Auburn Arena.
"I don't know if their size affected us more than our lack of defense," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We've got to defend better than that. And although we only had 13 turnovers, I bet they scored on every single one of those. And we missed tons of layups. We really just wanted to try to cut the score piece-by-piece and get some defensive stops. But for the first time this year, I thought we had moments where we didn't play hard. The hustle wasn't there. Loose balls on the floor, we didn't get to those like we had been. It doesn't matter how bad we get beat, we should never give up."
Tanner scored a team-best 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to pick up her sixth double-double of the season and second in three conference games. She was held in check through most of the first half by a bigger Tennessee frontcourt, but scored eight points in the second half to hit double-digits for the ninth-straight game.
Tennessee shot a season-high 59.6 percent from the field and held Auburn to a 29.4-percent shooting day. Auburn was able to get some offense going behind the arc, knocking down four 3-pointers on the day, but Tennessee was able to exploit its size advantage to the tune of 48 points in the paint. The Tigers took care of the ball with only 12 turnovers while forcing 19, but Auburn was unable to score in transition while Tennessee scored 22 fast-break points.
After trailing by 15 at the half, Auburn cut the deficit to as few as 10 points as Tanner scored five straight points to open the third quarter. But Tennessee went on a 5-0 run of its own, then scored the last six points of the third quarter to take a 57-40 lead.
A Tennessee flurry late in the second quarter broke open a close game as the Lady Vols took a 41-26 lead into halftime. Auburn trailed by just four at 26-22 with five-plus minutes remaining, but UT finished the quarter on a 15-4 run, making 10-of-13 shots in that stretch. UT shot 68.8 percent in the second quarter while Auburn managed just 5-of-15 (33.3%).
Auburn trailed by just two at the end of one quarter, 18-16. Montgomery hit a pair of 3-pointers early and had nine points after the first 10 minutes.
Diamond DeShields led Tennessee with 25 points, while Mercedes Russell picked up a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Bashaara Graves added 18 points.