No. 9 Women's Basketball Wins Miami Holiday Tournament With 68-53 Win Over Host Miami
Dec. 30, 2008
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Auburn women's basketball head coach Nell Fortner has stressed the importance of winning championships throughout a season in order to be successful at the end of the season. Her team took another one of those steps Tuesday as the No. 9 Tigers (14-0) downed Miami (9-4), 68-53, to win the Miami Holiday Tournament. The tournament win is the second of the season as Auburn also won the Florida International Thanksgiving Classic.
"It does not matter to me what it is, but anytime you have an opportunity to win a championship, you want to play hard, compete and give it your all to win it," said Fortner. "I'm really proud of how we came out and stayed focused and played a pretty good second half of basketball."
Auburn trailed at the half for just the second time this season, going into the locker room at halftime down 32-30. But, the Tigers put together a 38-21 second half en route to the 15-point win.
DeWanna Bonner led Auburn with 18 points and eight rebounds, but it was senior point guard Whitney Boddie stepping up big as well with nine points, nine rebounds, eight assists and five steals. Her rebound, assist and steal totals were all game-highs.
For her efforts in the two tournament games, Boddie was named the Miami Holiday Tournament MVP. For the tournament, she nearly averaged a triple-double with 11.5 points, 10.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game. Other Tigers on the all-tournament team were Bonner and sophomore guard Alli Smalley.
"I thought Whitney Boddie had a tremendous two days of basketball, her assist-to-turnover ratio was just outstanding with 21 assists to five turnovers, and she looked to score the ball also," said Fortner. "So, it was not just that she was helping her teammates out, but she was looking to score herself and that makes her a very dangerous player."
In the two tournament games, Bonner averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while Smalley averaged a team-best 18.5 points per game, knocking down 7-of-11 three-point attempts.
The tournament win also marked the third time in a row for Auburn to win the Miami Holiday Tournament. The Tigers also won the tournament title in 2006, with Bonner earning MVP honors, and in 1988.
With the win, Auburn also improves to 14-0 for just the fourth time in school history. It marks the first time for Auburn to go undefeated through the first 14 games since the 1988-89 season.
In Tuesday's game, it was Miami jumping out to the early lead, taking a quick 6-2 advantage. Auburn came back and took a six-point lead at the 18-12 mark, its biggest lead of the half, but Miami came right and tied the game with a pair of 3-pointers from Shenise Johnson at 22-22. The game would be tied two more times before a LaToya Drake jumper with six seconds left put the Hurricane up, 32-30, at the half.
KeKe Carrier led Auburn off the bench in the first half with seven points while Bonner and Boddie registered six points and three rebounds each. Boddie also checked in with four first-half steals.
Johnson led Miami in the opening half with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. She also led the team with six rebounds.
A rejuvenated Auburn came out ready in the second half and opened up the period with a 19-4 run to open up a 13-point lead with 13:07 remaining. Miami did not back down, cutting the lead to six with 10:43 left in the game, but Auburn was able to re-group on the back of 12 second-half points from Bonner and maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the rest of the half.
"I think we settled in to how Miami played and found our spots to score in the second half," said Fortner. "This team kind of has a tendency to get a feel for a team and then start attacking them; they have been that way all year so I don't know if that is going to change."
Bonner led in the game with 18 points, but was followed closely by Smalley with 16, including 4-of-6 from 3-point land, and Carrier with 14 points along with her six rebounds.
Johnson finished with a game-high 21 points while also leading Miami with eight rebounds. Charmaine Clark picked up eight rebounds of her own along with six points. Drake was the only other Hurricane to finish in double figures as she picked up 12 points and seven boards.
Auburn out-rebounded Miami, 38-32, while also tallying fewer turnovers (13-17). Of the 17 Miami turnovers, 13 came from Tiger steals, compared to five Hurricane steals.
Auburn shot 43.6 percent from the field, knocking down 24-of-55 attempts. The Tigers also hit 5-of-9 3-point attempts and 15-of-19 free throws in the game. Miami shot 37.5 percent in the game (21-of-56), down significantly from its 53.8 percent first half. The Hurricane shot 23.3 percent, 7-of-30, in the second half. Miami came through on only 4-of-15 three-point attempts while hitting 7-of-8 free throws.
Auburn returns to action Jan. 3 as the Tigers head home to Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum for the first time since Dec. 5, facing Stephen F. Austin (5-6).
"We are looking forward to getting back on our home floor, playing Stephen F. Austin and getting ready for conference play," said Fortner. "We are looking forward to starting the SEC season, we have prepared well and we are ready to get it going."
Tipoff against the Ladyjacks is set for 2 p.m. as the opener of a doubleheader with the Auburn men's team. The Tigers will follow at 5 p.m. against Tulane.
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