Feb. 9, 2014
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - As Auburn's women's basketball team left the court at halftime Sunday, it faced the looming possibility of a damaging loss to Mississippi State.
But Auburn senior Tyrese Tanner wasn't going to have it. Not this day.
Tanner scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half. She finished with 10 rebounds and four of Auburn's 20 steals as the Tigers held the Bulldogs to 15 second-half points and ran away with a 51-43 victory. Every time Mississippi State crept close, Tanner had an answer.
"Once again, we played as bad as we could in the first half," Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said, "but when you have a player like Tyrese Tanner that just puts the team on her back, that's a pretty good player right there."
The Tigers won their second straight game, improving to 13-10 overall and 4-6 in the SEC going into Thursday night's game at Vanderbilt. They broke a five-game homecourt losing streak. Mississippi State fell to 16-9 and 3-8.
Tanner and her teammates were stone cold for much of the first half, hitting just 7-of-23 shots.
"I was a little rusty in the first half," Tanner said. "As a team, we kept missing wide-open layups. We regrouped in the second half and came out and did what we had to do."
It was defense, senior Hasina Muhammad said, that turned the game in Auburn's favor.
"Our team philosophy is defense," Muhammad said. "You might get tired, but you have a sub coming in. It's real fun to play, and it helps our transition offense."
But most of all, this was Tanner's game. No other Auburn player had more than seven points or more than five rebounds. And Tanner, saddled with foul trouble, did her damage in 27 minutes.
"Really, we depend on Ty," Muhammad said. "When she is having a good game, we're usually having a good game."
Auburn started the second half with a 16-4 run. The Bulldogs did not lead again. When they got to within 43-41, Tanner hit a jumper with 3:50 left. When they answered to make it 45-43, Tanner answered again with 2:09 left. She hit a free throw to make it 48-43, and that was that.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: