Auburn's Tyrese Tanner takes control over Georgia's Khaalidah Miller (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Tyrese Tanner was a threat to miss her Senior Day, considering she only played three minutes in the first half because of, yet again, perplexing foul trouble.
But Tanner showed up in the second half, and in a big way, to score all of her 21 points to help Auburn beat Georgia 67-59 Sunday in Auburn Arena.
Tanner and Peyton Davis were honored on Senior Day and responded with a combined 24 points and 10 rebounds. A freshman gpt in the scoring act, too. Brandy Montgomery had 21 points, too.
Auburn, trying to improve its tournament stock, improved to 15-12 overall and 6-8 in the SEC with two regular-season games remaining. Georgia fell to 18-9 overall and 6-8 in the league.
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, who has protected Tanner from a barrage of first-half fouls this season, said she has "no idea why she gets in foul trouble." But Williams-Flournoy needs Tanner, the team's leading scorer, for the end, like when Auburn outscored Georgia 9-1 in the final 1:42.
"She's our go-to player. She's our best player," Williams-Flournoy said.
The game was played inside, considering the two teams combined to hit 4-of-32 3-point tries. Williams-Flournoy wanted credit for holding Georgia to 1-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc.
"We don't get props?" she asked with a smile. "They came into the game with all three of their guards shooting the ball extremely well, but we couldn't let the 3 beat us."
"I know," said guard Hasina Muhammad, "coach's philosophy is defense."
The philosophy worked this day. Auburn scored 34 points on Georgia's 24 turnovers.
The Tigers also got a boost by hitting 24-of-31 free throws, quite a feat considering the Tigers shot only one free throw in the first half.
"We shot 100 free throws after practice yesterday, so that got us pretty warm," said Muhammad.
Georgia led 29-28 at the half of a close game that featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties.
"We still missed layups, some box-outs," said Williams-Flournoy. But even when the layups happened, Auburn "didn't let it control both ends of the floor."
The Tigers can't rest on that, not with rival Alabama visiting Auburn Arena at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Tide may remember the first meeting this season: Auburn won 61-39.
"I'm sure Alabama wants to come in and cut our head off," said Williams-Flournoy. "It's an Alabama team that is playing really well right now.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine