Nov. 28, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Blanche Alverson and Hasina Muhammad scored 21 points each, leading the Auburn women's basketball team (5-2) in a comeback 70-65 win at Tulane (5-1) Wednesday night. The Tigers were down by 16 at halftime, but rallied back to hand the Green Wave their first loss of the season.
Auburn took a quick 7-2 lead to start the game, but Tulane rallied to score 13 straight points to take a lead it would not give up for most of the game. The Green Wave kept on rolling through the period to take a 16-point, 39-23 lead at halftime.
"I told them at halftime that we were awful: we were not getting stops, we were not making layups, we did not represent Auburn well in that first half," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "I was very disappointed in the first half."
For everything that Auburn did wrong in the first half, the Tigers did right in the second. After shooting 30 percent in the opening period, Auburn came back to shoot 50 percent in the second to finish the game at 40.9 percent.
Auburn also limited Tulane to 23.1 percent shooting in the second half after surrendering 55.6 percent in the first. The Tigers also forced just three Green Wave turnovers in the first half, but came back to force 10 in the second, scoring 17 points off turnovers.
"We decided that we were just going to sit down, pick them up full court and play some defense," said Williams-Flournoy. "Forget the press because we were not moving quick enough to get the traps and get defensive stops that we needed. I thought we did a good job in the second half, we got in some passing lanes, made some steals and then we just hit some shots."
Alverson, Muhammad and Tra'Cee Tanner led the charge in the second half, hitting timely shots and clutch free throws. Alverson scored 11 of her 21 in the second half while Muhammad scored 16 of hers. Tra'Cee Tanner came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points with six rebounds.
Tulane managed to hold off Auburn's comeback for most of the second half, holding a four-point lead with less than three minutes to play. But, back-to-back three-point plays put the Tigers ahead for good.
Alverson came in and popped one of her three 3-pointers on the night to cut the Green Wave lead to one. On the ensuing Tulane possession, Muhammad picked up a steal and went the length of the floor for a layup and a foul. She hit the free throw to give the Tigers a 64-62 lead.
After a defensive stop, Tra'Cee Tanner got a big underneath layup to give Auburn a 66-62 lead, but Tulane wasn't out yet. Danielle Blagg knocked home a fade-away 3-pointer on the next possession to cut the Auburn lead to one with 31 seconds to play.
Forced to foul, Tra'Cee Tanner and Najat Ouardad combined to go 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final seconds to secure the Auburn win.
"We did not hit free throws in the first half and I told them at halftime that we have to hit those, they win basketball games. You have to step up to the free throw line with confidence and I thought Tra'Cee Tanner did a heck of a job coming in there with some clutch free throws."
Janique Kautsky led Tulane with 16 points while Whitney Bibbins came off the bench for 14.
Peyton Davis pulled down a game-high nine rebounds for the Tigers while Muhammad added eight. Ouardad dished out a game-high seven assists. Alverson was also a big defensive presence with game highs of three blocks and three steals. Tyrese Tanner also added a trio of steals.
Auburn will now take a 10-day break for semester finals. The Tigers will return to the court at 2 p.m. CT, Sunday, Dec. 9 for a home game against Hofstra at Auburn Arena.