Dec. 2, 2010
Box Score |
Highlights | Postgame Audio (Fortner, Smalley, Jennings)
AUBURN - Senior Alli Smalley scored a team-high 15 points, followed by a career-high 13 from freshman Jassany Williams as the Auburn women's basketball team (3-4) pulled out the 75-70 win over in-state rival South Alabama (3-4). The win was the 24th win in a row for the Tigers over the Jaguars.
Auburn led by 11 at the half, but saw the lead slip away with South Alabama taking the lead with 14:03 left in the game. The Tigers bounced back, building its lead back to 10 before taking the five-point win.
"It went down to the wire, but we did good job of knocking down free throws at the end of the game," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "I am really disappointed in how we came out in the second half. I really thought we were ready, we did a good job talking about what we needed to do in the locker room. I thought that group we started with would come out and play, but I probably left them in a little too long."
Auburn used a 10-player rotation with everyone that played accounting for at least 11 minutes of action. Only senior Jordan Greenleaf, who played 32 minutes, topped the 30-minute mark. With the rotation, Auburn was able to get use out of its bench, out-scoring the South Alabama bench, 33-14.
"There is no question this could be a good thing when we get into the groove of the substitutions," said Fortner.
The Tigers again used their defense to pull out the win, using nine steals to force 17 South Alabama turnovers, scoring 17 points off the turnovers. The Tigers also blocked six shots.
Senior Jordan Greenleaf led Auburn on the blocks, pulling down a game-high nine rebounds with her 11 points. She also tallied two blocks and a team-high three steals.
"Jordan is just a warrior," said Fortner. "She is a smart player who anchors us down defensively. She took a lot of charges tonight, which is what we needed because they were penetrating so hard to the basket."
Also scoring in double figures was point guard Morgan Toles. She came off the bench for the second game in a row, tallying 10 points and a game-high five assists.
Leading by just a point with 4:20 to go in the first half, Auburn out-scored South Alabama 10-1 to finish out the period, thanks to seven points from Blanche Alverson.
The Jaguars scored the first 10 points of the first half to cut the lead to one and took the lead six minutes into the period on a jumper from Christian Shelter.
The game remained close, but Auburn was able to get a buffer with five minutes to go on a four-point possession. Toles hit the first of a pair of free throws with Greenleaf pulling down the rebound on the missed second shot. She kicked the ball out to Smalley who knocked down her only 3-pointer of the night, giving Auburn an eight-point lead.
Toles scored the next time down the floor for the Tigers, building the lead back to 10 with 4:29 to play.
South Alabama was able to cut it back down to three late in the game, but Auburn hit six of its eight free throws in the final two minutes to hold on for the 75-70 win.
South Alabama was led by Taylor Ammons with 17 points and eight rebounds. Christian Shelter added 11 for the Jaguars while Sarda Banks chipped in 10 with four assists.
"South Alabama is tough, they are really good," said Fortner. "I am surprised they're 3-4, I can see them having a very good year in their conference this year, especially if they shoot the 3-ball the way they do and the way they penetrate the ball so hard to the basket. "
The Jaguars shot 50.9 percent from the field, compared to 43.5 percent from the Tigers. South Alabama also knocked down 7-of-12 from 3-point range, holding Auburn to 2-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Both teams made their free throws with USA hitting 69.2 percent (9-of-13) while Auburn shot 67.9 percent (19-of-28).
Auburn will return to action with a Saturday home game against Temple. The game will precede the SEC Football Championship game with fans able to view the football game on the HD video boards at the Arena after the game.
"Temple is good, we are going to need all the help we can on that," said Fortner. "They are another good 3-point shooting team, and we need a great crowd."
Admission to the women's basketball game is free for students with their Auburn Ignited card. General public tickets for the women's basketball game are $7 for reserved seats and $5 for general admission seating. Admission to the arena is free after half-time of the women's game and through the football championship game.