Women's Basketball Falls To Mississippi State, 57-45
Feb. 6, 2011
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball team (13-10, 6-4 SEC) struggled to find an offensive rhythm Sunday as the Tigers fell to Mississippi State (9-13, 1-9 SEC), 57-45, at Auburn Arena. Sophomore Blanche Alverson led the Tigers in scoring with 19 points while Mississippi native Chantel Hilliard scored 12 with a team-high six rebounds in her second start of the season.
Hilliard was starting in place of senior Alli Smalley, who missed the last two days of practice with an illness. Smalley still made it into the game, scoring five points with two steals off the bench. The missed start ended a 106-game consecutive start run for Smalley, the second-longest in Auburn history behind Kristen Mulligan's 118 consecutive starts.
The game was also Auburn's Pink Zone Game to bring awareness to breast cancer. The Tigers teamed with Alfa Insurance to donate $5,000 to the Montgomery-based Joy to Life Foundation.
Coming off a tough 69-38 loss at Kentucky on Thursday, the Tigers' offensive woes continued as Auburn shot 33.3 per cent from the field, including a season-low 17 points in the second half.
"We just weren't ready to play and didn't bounce back from the game in Kentucky," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "It was a long day for us. It is one of the most disappointing losses that I think I've had at Auburn. I have to go back and re-evaluate myself and how we prepared and see if that is the right way to prepare."
The teams traded the lead in the first half with six ties and 10 lead changes. Auburn led by as many as three points with a 14-11 advantage with 11:37 remaining in the period and still managed to have a 28-26 lead with 3:30 left before the Bulldogs took the lead for good on a Porsha Porter 3-pointer with 2:02 remaining in the half.
Mississippi State would never trail again, building its lead to as many as 13 points in the second half. The Bulldogs scored the first eight points of the second half to extend their lead to nine, but Hilliard, Auburn's lone Mississippi native, answered with eight points of her own to cut the lead back to one at 37-36 with 14:22 left.
Mississippi State answered with a 10-2 run to take the lead back to nine. Auburn would get no closer than seven points the remainder of the game, dropping the 57-45 decision.
Alverson moved from 10th to ninth in the Auburn record books, draining three treys to give her 84 career 3-pointers. Greenleaf's five rebounds moved her into a tie for ninth all-time in career rebounding at Auburn with Charlene Thomas.
Porter led the Bulldogs with 21 points followed by Mary Kathryn Govero with 12. Catina Bett pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds with her six points.
As a team, the Bulldogs were 22-of-58 from the field, for 38 percent, and 5-of-7 from the line. Although entering the game last in the conference for 3-point shooting, State finished the day 8-of-15 from outside the arc.
The Tigers return to action Thursday, Feb. 10, taking on LSU (16-9, 6-5 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. LSU defeated Ole Miss, 76-38, Sunday afternoon in Oxford.
Auburn University will host the first and second rounds of the 2011 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, March 20 and 22 at Auburn Arena. Tickets are available now at AUBTix.com.
Follow Auburn women's basketball on Twitter at twitter.com/AuburnWBB.
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