Dec. 29, 2006
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -
Auburn (13-3) shot a season-best 71.4 percent in the first half on its way to a 79-61 win over Miami (9-6) in Coral Gables, Fla. The win gave the Tigers the Miami Holiday Classic crown, their second tournament championship of the season. Auburn also won the Nugget Classic on Dec. 2nd in Reno, Nev.
"It was nice to see everyone come to play," Auburn head coach Nell Fortner said. "We came here to win a championship and that's what we did. The team has been coached to have a championship mentality, and we saw it from them today."
DeWanna Bonner notched her seventh double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 boards to lead Auburn. Tamela McCorvey was the second Tiger in double figures with 11, while Whitney Boddie dished a career-high 11 assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
Auburn battled the Hurricanes to an 11-11 tie through the first seven minutes of the game, but did not miss a shot in the final 11 minutes of the half to take a 47-28 lead to the locker room. The Tigers largest lead of the half, 45-25, came with 1:16 remaining in the period when Bonner hit Alexis Ogubie for an open layup. The conversion capped a 34-14 run that spanned more than 12 minutes.
In the second half, Auburn cooled to just 48 percent shooting and saw its lead shrink to 11 before closing the game on a 24-17 run. The key basket in the half came with 8:21 to play. The Hurricanes had battled to within 12 before Boddie found McCorvey for a three that killed Miami's rally.
Auburn's bench provided 37 points in the game, and every Tiger on the roster scored for the second time this season. Renee Taylor led the Hurricanes with 19 points in the loss.
Auburn advanced to the championship game after edging James Madison, 79-76, in overtime on Thursday. Bonner was named tourney MVP after leading the Tigers in scoring both nights. Boddie, who tallied 16 assists in two games, was also named to the all-tournament team. The Holiday Classic crown gave Auburn two championships in one season for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
The Tigers host Ole Miss to open SEC play on Thursday, Dec. 4th at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.