Jan. 29, 2006
AUBURN - Nitasha Brown tied a career-high with 19 points in just 20 minutes as Auburn ran away with a 74-44 win over Mississippi State Sunday at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Alexis Ogubie scored a career-high 14 points and DeWanna Bonner added 13 as the Tigers reached their largest margin of victory since the 44-point victory at Furman on Dec. 20.
"This was a good outing for everybody on our team," Head Coach Nell Fortner said. "We came out strong and were able to keep the momentum in our favor throughout the game. This win will give us some confidence going forward."
The Tigers never trailed, led by as many as 37 points, and out shot the Bulldogs 50 percent to just 31.6 percent for the game.
The first nine minutes of the second half saw the Tigers outscore the Bulldogs 22-4 as Auburn continually found open looks around the basket. The run expanded the Auburn lead to 33 and the Tigers never saw the margin shrink below 30. The nine minute stretch included a 17-0 run for Auburn that ended at the 11:01 mark by a pair of Lauren Roberts' free-throws.
Auburn took a 34-19 lead to the locker room at halftime. Their largest lead of the half came at the 6:27 mark when two DeWanna Bonner free throws pushed the Tiger lead to 18.
Mississippi State was finally able to produce consistently on offense the final six minutes of the period. The Bulldogs converted on four of their last six field goal attempts to close the half. Blessing Chekwa was the Bulldogs' leading scorer with 13.
For much of the first half, Auburn looked to utilize their height advantage by slowing down the pace of the game and working the ball inside. Fortner started and used frequently a lineup that featured 6-7 KeKe Carrier, 6-5 Marita Payne, and 6-4 DeWanna Bonner. Twenty of the Tigers' first-half points came from inside the paint as Auburn shot 46.2 percent from the field against just 29 percent by Mississippi State for the half. Auburn scored a total of 36 points in the paint for the game, 16 more than Mississippi State.
Auburn opened the game on a 7-0 run before State's Mamie McKinney hit a short jumper to get the bulldogs on the scoreboard at the 16:04 mark of the first half.
Marita Payne had seven rebounds for the game which brings her career total to 588, good enough for 15th all-time at Auburn. Payne did not block a shot for the first time in 50 games.
The 30-point margin of victory was the biggest SEC win for Auburn since the Tigers beat Alabama 72-40 on Feb. 26, 2004.
The Tigers will now try and reach the .500 mark in SEC play when they travel to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators Thursday, Feb. 2. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT and the game will be televised live on FSN South. The Tigers return to Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum on Sunday Feb 5 to take on Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. CT.