No. 13 Tigers Rally In Second Half For 95-74 Win Over North Carolina A&T


Dec. 3, 2008

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AUBURN - Senior DeWanna Bonner picked up her second double-double of the season as the No. 13 Auburn Tigers (8-0) rolled to a 95-74 victory over the North Carolina A&T Aggies (3-3).

In all, four Tigers finished the game in double figures as Bonner was followed by seniors Trevesha Jackson and Sherell Hobbs with 16 each and Whitney Boddie with 10. In all, ten of the 11 Tigers chipped in points for the win.

"We knew it was going to be a good game," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We knew North Carolina A&T was a good team, they shot the ball so well, but luckily so did we.

"We couldn't guard them in the first half. They had a hot hand and I don't know that we have come up against a team in a long time that shot the ball that well."

North Carolina A&M jumped to a quick 10-3 lead just 1:24 into the first half and held the lead until the 12:42 mark when a jumper from Bonner tied the game at 18-18. The Tigers battled out the remainder of a first half that saw the score tied on five occasions with three lead changes.

With 2:50 left in the first half, a three-point play on a layup and a free throw from Bonner put Auburn ahead for good, making the score 39-37. The Tigers took a 45-42 lead into the locker room on 19-of-36 from the field and 17 points from Bonner. In the first half, the Aggies were 17-of-31 from the field and 4-of-8 from behind the arc.

After the break, Auburn opened up a quick 11-point lead and never allowed the Aggies back within eight. As the half wore on, so grew an Auburn lead that peaked at the 1:48 mark with a 24-point Auburn advantage. The Tigers converted eight second-half Aggie turnovers into 16 points.

"We played a lot more zone in the second half than we did in the first half," said Bonner. "We used our endurance and wore them down. I think that they got tired in the second half and they lost a lot of their power, so we contested their shots a little bit more and took it from there."

The Aggies, who forced an average of 25 turnovers per game coming into Wednesday night's meeting, only managed a total of seven from Auburn. The seven turnovers committed was a season-low for the Tigers.

"I thought that was a key stat, only committing seven turnovers," said Fortner. "I was very pleased with that because in practice we talked about the importance of taking care of the ball and we have to get better at that every time we step on the court."

The hot shooting the Aggies displayed in the first half wore off in the second as N.C. A&T shot 11-of-27 from the field, a 14 percent drop in efficiency from the opening period.

"I give Auburn credit," said North Carolina A&T head coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs. "They did a good job and didn't get away from the game plan. We did a great job in the first half, all we had to do was keep doing what we were doing, but we kind of got away from some things."

Four Aggies scored in double-digits led by senior Brittanie Taylor-James with 18 points and nine rebounds. North Carolina A&T finished the game 28-of-58 from the field, 5-of-13 from three-point range and 13-of-17 from the line.

Auburn's 95 points marked the fourth time this season the Tigers have passed the 90-point mark, a feat that hasn't happened since the 2003-04 season. Bonner's double-double was her second of the season and the 33rd of her career.

The Tigers shot 48.6 percent from the field, knocking down 35-of-72 attempts. Auburn was also 5-of-7 from three-point land with Hobbs and Alli Smalley knocking down two each. AU went to the line 24 times in the game, making good on 20 attempts for an 83.3 three-throw percentage.

Auburn improves to 8-0 with the win, marking the 14th time in the team's history it has moved to 8-0 and the second season in a row after the Tigers starting off 9-0 in the 2007-08 season.

The Tigers return to action Friday at 6 p.m. CST at home against Sam Houston State in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The Bearkats are currently 1-5 on the season, coming off a 76-63 loss to Fresno State on Saturday.