Feb. 17, 2013
AUBURN - In the final regular season contest of her career against Alabama, Blanche Alverson left her mark, posting 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists against the Crimson Tide to lead Auburn to a 70-53 victory Sunday at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers snapped an eight-game losing streak and improved to 14-11 (3-9 SEC), while Alabama fell to 12-13 (2-10 SEC).
"I thought the first half, we really set the tone immediately," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "I thought we came out and played extremely well. I thought Hasina Muhammad did a very good job of controlling the game right from the beginning, and then Blanche Alverson stepped in and helped us score, as well."
It marked Alverson's third double-double of her career and the second this season. She was one of three Tigers in double figures, as Hasina Muhammad added 15 points and Tyrese Tanner tallied 14. Alverson also set new career highs with her team-leading 11 rebounds and six assists.
"Coach Flo had told us that we needed to step up, especially with (Najat Ouardad) being out," said Alverson. "This could be the last time I play Alabama so it definitely meant a lot more. I definitely wanted to put the team on my shoulders and get out to a good start."
With her 22 points on the day, Alverson is now 24th all-time in career scoring at Auburn with 1,109 points.
Auburn took an early lead on a 3-pointer from Alverson, but traded baskets with Alabama for much of the opening half. The Tigers went on an 8-0 run to break out to a 10-point lead at 22-12 with 8:42 remaining, and the Crimson Tide never recovered.
With 7:19 to play, the Tigers widened the lead to 30-14 in a little less than a minute as three Auburn steals led to six points off turnovers. Auburn held Alabama to just four points in the final six minutes of the half.
The Tigers took a 41-18 lead into the locker room. The 18 points scored by the Crimson Tide in the first half were the fewest by an SEC opponent this season, beating out the 20 points Auburn held Arkansas to in the SEC-opener.
Auburn was up by as many as 28 points with 18:10 to play and maintained a 20-point margin for the majority of the second half. The Tigers scored 20 points off 18 forced turnovers and out-rebounded the Crimson Tide, 44-33.
For Auburn, it marked the 13th time this season for the Tigers to score 20 or more points off turnovers.
Starting in place of Ouardad in the lineup was freshman Tra'Cee Tanner, getting the nod in the post. With her first career start, playing alongside older sister Tyrese Tanner, it marked the first time since a Nov. 26, 2008 game at Alabama-Birmingham for a pair of sisters to start. The Hobbs sisters, Sherell and Reneisha, started together in the game against the Blazers.
Auburn returns to action Thursday as they face No. 12/10 Tennessee from Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT.