Nov. 11, 2011
MACON, Ga. - Auburn (1-0) scored the first 12 points of the game and never looked back as the Tigers trounced Mercer (0-1) 77-43 Friday night in Macon, Ga. Sophomore Tyrese Tanner started and led the Tigers with 14 points in the season-opening victory for the women's basketball team.
Tanner was one of three Tigers in double figures in the game, followed by freshman Hasina Muhammad and junior Blanche Alverson with 12 points each. Alverson tallied the first double-double of her career, also pulling down a career-high 10 rebounds.
"It was a really good effort tonight to come into Mercer, to a packed house on their homecoming and get the win," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We really took advantage of the back-door cuts early to get out to a good start. Going on the road and getting a win in the season-opener was great and really builds our confidence."
Auburn held Mercer scoreless for the first four minutes of the game and led by as many as 20 points before taking a 36-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Bears came out and went shot-for-shot with Auburn in the early going of the second half, cutting the lead to 14 with 14:51 to play. The Tigers answered with an 8-0 to get the lead back to 22, fueled by six transition baskets by Tanner.
Mercer would get no closer than 18 points the rest of the way as Auburn gradually pulled away for the eventual 34-point, 77-43, victory.
The game was also a homecoming for Auburn senior Parrisha Simmons, a native of Macon, Ga. She came off the bench for five points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes of play.
"Parrisha is just such a great utility player, she can come into the game and give you something in so many different areas," said Fortner. "We were glad to get to bring her home to Macon and let her play in front of her friends and family."
The game was the Auburn debut for a pair of new Tigers, freshman Muhammad and junior point guard Najat Ouardad. Muhammed started and scored 12 points with two rebounds, a block and a steal. Ouardad came off the bench for seven points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
As a team, Auburn out-rebounded Mercer 50-27, including 14 offensive boards for 12 second-chance points. The Tigers also used their defense to fuel the offense, tallying 11 steals while forcing 19 Mercer turnovers, turning them in to 20 points on the other end.
The Tigers shot 55.4 percent from the field while holding the Bears to 26.8 percent. Auburn also got to the free-throw line 24 times, connecting on 15 attempts.
Auburn will return to the court at 6 p.m., Tues., Nov. 15 as the Tigers host Belmont (0-1). The game will be the home-opener for the Tigers at Auburn Arena.