Nov. 26, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Playing in her hometown for the first time in her collegiate career, DeWanna Bonner scored 20 second-half points, building a 29-point advantage in the final 20 minutes of play as the No. 15-ranked Auburn women's basketball team (5-0) downed in-state rival UAB (1-3), 91-62, Wednesday night at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala.
Auburn used a 16-4 run, largely due to 12 straight points from Bonner, to open up an 18-point lead midway through the second half, at the 62-44 mark. Auburn led by as many as 31 points in the second half, nearly tripling its first-half offensive output.
"They just could not guard DeWanna and she did a great job attacking the basket," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "When she started doing well, it gave everyone else confidence and we rode that through the rest of the half."
Bonner, and her game-high 29 points, did not do it alone as the Tigers put up 59 second-half points, compared to its 32-point output in the first half. Morgan Jennings came off the bench for 12 points, giving her 14 in the game, while Reneisha Hobbs added eight second-half points for a final total of 10.
"I thought we settled in, got a little bit of a rhythm, started knocking down shots and got some confidence," said Fortner. "We played better defense, did not give up as many easy baskets and our conditioning took over and that helps in breaking down a team's confidence."
Also helping to break UAB's confidence was the 75.9 percent shooting Auburn did from the field in the second half, giving the Tigers a 64.2 shooting percentage for the game. The Tigers shot 34-of-53 from the field in the game, knocking down 22-of-29 in the second half alone.
AU was also able to get the bench involved in the game as it provided 27 of the team's points.
"The bench got a lot of really good minutes and that is important for us in the long haul," said Fortner. "We have to get them minutes as much as we can and give them some confidence for later on in the season."
Leading UAB in the game was sophomore guard Amanda Peterson with 20 points, including 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior guard Britney Jones followed with 15 points while Tamika Dukes led the team in rebounding with six.
The Blazers were 21-of-67 from the field in the game, shooting 31.3 percent. For the first time this season, Auburn lost the turnover battle, committing 21 as UAB tallied 10 steals in the game. Auburn picked up seven steals, forcing 10 Blazer turnovers.
Auburn won the rebounding battle, finishing the contest with a 20-rebound advantage, 46-26. Thirty of the rebounds came in the second half as the Tigers led 16-15 at halftime. Bonner led Auburn with eight boards, followed by Trevesha Jackson with seven and freshman Chantel Hilliard with six.
Auburn rallied for the win after being tied at the half, 32-32, for the first time this season. Bonner led Auburn in the half with nine points, five of which came from the three-throw line, and four rebounds.
The story for UAB was sophomore guard Peterson as she was 4-of-5 from three-point land, including two late threes that tied the game at the half.
Auburn's eventual 91-point total marked the third time this season the Tigers passed the 90-point barrier. AU put up 91 on Alabama A&M in the season-opener and 95 in the home opener against Temple.
Auburn returns to action Nov. 29-30 at the Florida International Thanksgiving Classic in Miami, Fla. The Tigers will first face North Carolina State at 5 p.m. CT, Saturday. AU will wrap up the tournament at 1 p.m. CT, Sunday against host FIU.