March 24, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN -- The WNIT is bringing out the best of Auburn's shooters.
Auburn advanced to the WNIT Sweet 16 Sunday after Hasina Muhammad scored a career-high 27 points to help the Tigers beat Western Kentucky 84-66 in Auburn Arena. The Tigers will play Tulane in the Round of 16 at 6 p.m. Wednesday at home. Tulane advanced Sunday by beating Arkansas 60-48.
Auburn beat Tulane 70-65 on Dec. 28.
Muhammad's career-best came one game after Tyrese Tanner scored a career-high 29 points in the WNIT opener against UAB. Tanner didn't rest Sunday, though. She scored 24 more.
Blanche Alverson had nine points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
Auburn improved to 18-14. Western Kentucky finished 22-11.
It was an eye-popping score-sheet-kind-of-game. Western Kentucky fired up a whopping 31 3-point shots. The Hilltoppers hit 10. Auburn had 25 assists and 20 steals. It was a frantic first half of long shots and defensive pressure.
The best part about Sunday? It may be that Hasina is a sophomore and Tanner is a junior.
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy knows that score.
"Especially when you think of those who are coming back next year," she said. "I think it gives them a boost of confidence, and they understand how good a player they can be. We've been telling them how good.
"Ty is such an all-around player. She plays excellent defense, she can get to the boards, she is a big guard, she can post up, she's got the mid-range, she can attack the basket. There isn't much that she can't do, and I think she's starting to realize that."
Williams-Flournoy liked Muhammad's play, too.
"It's been a long time since has been able to score these type of points," she said. "When we get Ty scoring, Hasina scoring, and Blanche -- she had nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists -- it's just says a lot about those three and what they're doing for our team right now."
But Sunday, it was Muhammad's turn.
"I love it with Hasina plays like this," Alverson said. "She's aggressive, can get steals, can handle the ball, getting touches, finishes, tip in on the glass. When she does that kind of stuff, it just fuels us."
Tipoff in the Round of 16 game vs. Tulane is set for 6 p.m. CT, Wednesday at Auburn Arena with doors opening at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and are $10 for reserved seating, $7 for general admission and $5 for students. The first 200 students with a valid Auburn Ignited card will receive free admission. Fans can buy tickets at www.AUBTix.com, by calling 1-855-AUB-2010 or in person at the Auburn Arena box office.