Dec. 21, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Auburn never trailed, picking up 24 points from senior Tyrese Tanner en route to a 66-60 win over UCLA (5-6) Saturday in the Subway Classic in Minneapolis, Minn. The Tigers improve to 9-3 on the season and will face host Minnesota on Sunday for the tournament championship.
"I really thought our defense picked it up in times we really needed it," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "We gave up some easy baskets and turned the ball over in some bad times, but they did not let it get to them. They kept their heads up and kept playing. Tyrese Tanner did an awesome job at the top of our press as well."
Tanner picked up her second 20-point game of the season and her fifth game in a row with at least 17 points. She was 8-of-15 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line while also notching eight boards and four steals.
"Tyrese was our leader today, she attacked the basket hard and hit some great shots against their 2-3 zone," said Williams-Flournoy. "Ty said in the second half, `we are not going to lose.'"
Auburn jumped out to the early lead and was up by as many as seven points early in the game, but UCLA came back to tie things up at 19-19. Auburn pulled back away for a nine-point lead and went into the locker room up, 33-27.
Twice early in the second half, Auburn extended its lead to eight, but UCLA kept coming back. An 8-0 run midway through the half gave Auburn a 55-46 lead, but the Bruins answered with a 6-0 run of its own to keep the Tigers in check.
Ahead by just three with less than a minute left in the game, Auburn freshman Allina Starr, a Minneapolis native, stepped up to the line and knocked down a pair of key free throws to give the Tigers a five-point lead. After a defensive stop, Hasina Muhammad knocked down a free throw to give Auburn a six-point lead and the win.
Freshman Brandy Montgomery, who has scored in double figures in all but one game as a Tiger, followed Tyrese Tanner with 14 points and six rebounds. Muhammad finished the day with 10 points, a team-high four assists and four steals.
Atonye Nyingifa led UCLA with 19 points, followed by Nirra Fields who nearly had a triple-double with 15 points, eight steals and eight rebounds. Thea Lemberger added 10 points for the Bruins.
Auburn will return to the court at 2 p.m. CT, Sunday as the Tigers take on Subway Classic host Minnesota at Williams Arena. The Gophers are 9-3 on the season after falling to UCLA, 58-55, on Friday. Fans can listen live on WANI 98.7 FM in Auburn or online at AuburnTigers.com/AllAccess.