Dec. 28, 2007
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AP Action Photos
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Freshman Alli Smalley scored 15 points and Sherell Hobbs added 12 to help No. 15 Auburn hold off Davidson 66-59 on Friday in the Saint Joseph's Hawk Classic.
DeWanna Bonner added nine points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (12-1).
Danielle Hemerka scored 13 points and Honna Housley added 11 for the Wildcats (6-5).
With the game tied at 46 midway through the second half, the Tigers went on a 10-1 run capped by Hobbs' layup with 5:03 left to give Auburn a 56-47 lead.
Auburn couldn't shake Davidson (6-5). The Wildcats answered with a 8-2 spurt to close to 58-55 on Housley's 3-pointer.
The teams traded baskets before Jordan Greenleaf's jumper as the shot clock expired gave Auburn a 62-57 lead with 1:02 left.
Two free throws by Mercedes Robinson cut the deficit back to three, but Davidson could get no closer as Auburn hit its free throws down the stretch. The Wildcats were bidding for their first-ever victory over a ranked opponent.
Auburn, which last played on Dec. 19, routing Sam Houston State 80-36, will face Saint Joseph's in the championship game on Saturday.
"We had no idea they (Auburn) were going to be this good when we scheduled them," Saint Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin said. "We thought they would be a top 30 team, but it's a nice challenge to face a Top 15 team again."
The Hawks beat New Jersey Institute of Technology 68-59 in the other semifinal. The Hawks had a 26-point lead with just under 10 minutes left in the game before NJIT rallied to cut it to nine, but the Highlanders could get no closer.
Auburn's schedule doesn't get easier after the New Year, facing three straight ranked opponents -- George Washington, Tennessee and Georgia. After visiting Kentucky, the Tigers will host LSU.
Davidson held a 32-30 halftime lead after shooting 47 percent in the first half (15-for-32). The Wildcats had built a 28-20 advantage with 5:28 left before the break, but Auburn used a 10-2 run to tie the game at 30 on Smalley's layup. Smalley scored five points during the spurt.