Dec. 30, 2011
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MIAMI - The Auburn women's basketball team (8-5) took runner-up honors Friday at the Florida International Sun & Fun Classic, falling to host FIU, 64-55. Sophomore Tyrese Tanner and freshman Hasina Muhammad were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Auburn trailed by 17 midway through the second half, but cut the lead down to six with 2:49 left in the game. FIU's Jerica Coley, who scored a game-high 28 points, nailed a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine, all but sealing the game for the Panthers.
"We had some defensive breakdowns today and I'm disappointed in that," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "But, Coley for FIU had a great night, she was really something. It didn't seem to matter what we did, she found a way to get her shot off."
Overall, Fortner wasn't unhappy with the Tigers' performance as Auburn out-rebounded FIU 42-26 and committed only 14 turnovers. But, the Tigers again struggled from the field, shooting just 30.8 percent for the game.
"Overall, I did not think we played bad, but we have to have our shooters connecting," said Fortner. "When that is not happening, it effects some other things we do and puts us in a bad position."
Tanner led the Tigers with 17 points off the bench. Fifteen of her 17 points came in the second half, fueling the Tiger comeback. She was the only Tiger to score in double figures in both tournament games, averaging 14.0 points per game for the two games.
Muhammad, Auburn's other selection to the all-tournament team, scored eight points with three steals. She averaged 10.0 points and 3.0 steals per game in the two games.
Leading the Auburn rebounding effort was senior Parrisha Simmons with nine and sophomore Jassany Williams with eight. Williams, a Miami native, also scored six points with two blocked shots.
"Jassany played inspired basketball today," said Fortner. "She came off the bench and fought hard, really gave us a lot of energy."
FIU's Zsofia Labady hit a 3-pointer on the Panthers' first offensive possession, giving FIU a lead it would never surrender. The Panthers led by 10 midway through the half, but Auburn was able to cut it back down to four with 5:27 left in the period. FIU out-scored Auburn 10-5 to close out the period, taking a 31-22 halftime lead.
The Panthers picked up right where they left off in the second half, quickly extending the lead back to double digits. FIU took its largest lead, 46-29, after a Coley 3-pointer with 11:37 left to play. Auburn then went on a 19-8 run, fueled by 11 points from Tanner, to cut the lead to six, but would come no closer.
Three Panthers, Finda Mansare, Labady and Fanni Hutlassa, scored eight points each behind Coley's 28. The Panthers shot 52.3 percent from the field for the game and 44.4 percent from 3-point range.
Auburn will return to action at 2 p.m. CT, Sunday in the team's Southeastern Conference opener against Tennessee (8-3). The game will air live on CSS.