Jan. 17, 2013
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team led the majority of the game, but it wouldn't be enough to hold off No. 9 Tennessee, as the Tigers dropped a heartbreaker, 75-66, Thursday night at Auburn Arena. The Lady Vols improved to 14-3 (5-0 SEC), while Auburn fell to 13-5 (2-3 SEC).
"I thought our young ladies came out and played extremely hard, played with a lot of confidence," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "In the SEC, somehow you have a lot more confidence when you're at home in your own arena, and I thought our girls felt really confident and they played very hard, especially a lot of our starters who were playing a lot of minutes."
Auburn's starting five each scored in double figures for the first time this season and accounted for all but five of the Tigers' 66 points, as Hasina Muhammad and Blanche Alverson led with 15 points apiece. Muhammad continued her double-figure scoring streak and remains the only SEC player to have posted double digits in each game this season. Muhammad has scored in double figures in 20-consecutive games dating back to the 2011-12 season.
With her two treys on the night, Alverson is now one 3-pointer away from tying Tiffany Krantz (184) for second all-time at Auburn in career 3-pointers. With five attempts from beyond the arc, Alverson is now in sole possession of third all-time in career 3-point attempts. She is also 23rd all-time in career rebounding with 499.
Najat Ouardad added 11 points with eight assists, five rebounds and four steals, while Tyrese Tanner and Peyton Davis tallied 10 points apiece. Ouardad is now in sole possession of 22nd all-time at Auburn in career assists with 211.
Tennessee hit the first basket of the game to take a 2-0 lead, but Auburn responded with an 11-0 run in the opening minutes of the game. Muhammad accounted for six of the Tigers' first 11 points. A 3-pointer from Ariel Massengale ended Auburn's opening run, but the Tigers held on the remainder of the half, only letting the Lady Vols within three points of the lead.
Auburn outrebounded Tennessee 22-19 in the first 20 minutes and forced the Lady Vols into just 10-of-30 from the floor.
With a five point lead coming out of the locker room at halftime, Auburn kept momentum early in the second half of play before Tennessee went on a run of its own that would carry the Lady Vols to the win.
Tennessee took its first lead since its opening basket at 49-47 midway through the second half on a layup from Kamiko Williams. Auburn continued to pressure as the teams traded baskets for the next four minutes, but the Lady Vols finally took the lead for good with six minutes to play on a 3-pointer from Massengale.
Despite Auburn's attempts to chip away at the lead, Tennessee eventually led by as many as 13 points with 1:31 to play and went onto take the 75-66 victory.
Turnovers hurt Auburn late in the game as Tennessee forced 13 second half turnovers that led to 21 points. The Tigers also allowed 18 points in the paint in the second half compared to only two in the opening 20 minutes.
Meighan Simmons led Tennessee with 29 points, shooting 10-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Simmons scored 18 of her 29 points in the second half, including three treys.
Taber Spani added 12 points for Tennessee, and Massengale tallied 11 points and five assists.
Auburn returns to action Sunday as the Tigers travel to take on No. 5 Kentucky from Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.