March 2, 2006
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Freshman DeWanna Bonner posted career highs with 25 points and 13 rebounds as she led the Auburn women's basketball team (14-14) to a 64-48 win over South Carolina (17-11) in the first round of the SEC Tournament Thursday afternoon.
"It was an outstanding effort on our team today," Auburn head coach Nell Fortner said. "The difference in the game was having Whitney Boddie on the floor as opposed to the last time we played South Carolina and she is a difference maker."
Boddie, a freshman guard, played 33 minutes, contributing 10 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals on the afternoon. Joining Bonner and Boddie in double-figure scoring on the day was freshman KeKe Carrier with 10 points and six rebounds and senior Nitasha Brown with 10 points and six assists.
Auburn jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead to start the game including six of the first 11 points coming from Carrier. The Tigers held South Carolina scoreless for the first 6:22 of the game. Auburn built on the lead on another 8-0 run, taking a 23-8 advantage for the largest lead of the first half.
South Carolina pulled to within six points at the half as Auburn took at 27-21 advantage into the lockerroom. Bonner finished the half with nine points and nine rebounds and the Gamecocks' Melanie Johnson led the team with 12 points and eight first-half rebounds.
The Tigers started the second half with the same effort on a 9-0 run and the 36-21 lead. Auburn took advantage of the momentum taking another 8-0 run for the 47-31 lead. Auburn would not look back as it led by as many as 21 in the game at 58-37.
Bonner played to the fifth double-double of her career and the Auburn defense held South Carolina's Johnson to just two second-half points, which she scored with 6:48 remaining in the game.
Auburn's SEC Great, Carolyn Jones, and Honored Guest, Jane Moore, were honored at the half. Jones was the SEC's first back-to-back Most Valuable Player and remains fourth in all-time scoring at Auburn with 1,831 career points. Moore has been one of the most influential women in Auburn athletics history, working for the advancement of women's sports at the university.
Auburn will move on to the second round to face No. 2 seeded Tennessee Friday at 2:20 p.m. CT. The Tigers and Lady Vols will meet in the second round of the tournament for the third time in four years. A live television broadcast of the game will be on FOX Sports South with radio coverage on 97.7 FM WKKR and www.auburntigers.com.