Dec. 30, 2009
SAN DIEGO - Trailing by 15 points in the second half, the Auburn women's basketball team (9-4) clawed back to within six points but would get no closer as the Tigers fell 66-55 in the Surf `N Slam Classic to host San Diego State (8-4). Redshirt junior Jordan Greenleaf led Auburn with 15 points and eight rebounds in the game, collecting four steals along the way.
"I was really proud of how we fought," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We were playing to win this championship and just fell a little short. Worked our way back into the game, cut it to six and couldn't get over that hump. The effort was there, we have just had a little cold shooting the past couple games."
The Tigers shot 34.3 percent from the field, knocking down 24-of-70 attempts, as compared to the Aztecs and their 52.1 percent (25-of-48) on their home floor.
For Greenleaf, It marked the third time in the last four games for her to finish in double figures. Her four steals in the game also tied her season high.
"Jordan is starting to come into her own after being out a year and finding her game again," said Fortner. "It is nice to see, just having her out there in the floor and what she brings every night."
Auburn led throughout the most half, but never led by any more than four points. The Tigers led at 26-25 with 3:00 left to play, but San Diego State out-scored the Tigers 6-3 in the final minutes to take the 31-28 lead into the locker room.
SDSU opened the second half with a 13-1 run to open up a 15-point lead, its largest of the game. Auburn battled back, cutting the lead to six with 11:13 to play after a 9-2 run led by a pair of Greenleaf jumpers.
San Diego State built the lead back to double digits, leading by 13 with 4:59 to play, but an 8-2 Tiger run trimmed it to seven at 60-53 with 3:00 left to play
A Quenese Davis jumper with 1:33 to play put the lead back to nine and forced the Tigers to resort to fouling the remainder of the game, resulting in the 66-55 Aztec victory.
With the win, San Diego State repeats as Surf `N Slam champions. Davis was named the tournament MVP and was joined by teammates Paris Johnson and Jene Morris on the All-Tournament Team. Greenleaf and KeKe Carrier represented Auburn on the team while Wake Forest's Brittany Waters rounded out the team.
Smalley finished behind Greenleaf with 10 points and a game-high six assists. Carrier and Morgan Toles finished with nine points each while Carrier and Parrisha Simmons pulled down nine rebounds each.
Auburn finished with a season-low nine turnovers while picking up 11 steals, forcing 19 Aztec turnovers. The Tigers lost the rebounding battle 39-34 to San Diego State, though 19 of Auburn's boards came on the offensive end, resulting in 12 second-chance points.
Johnson led the Aztecs with 18 points and nine rebounds, followed by Davis with 16 points, five assists and four steals. Jessika Bradley added 12 points as Coco Davis rounded out the Aztecs in double figures with 10.
Auburn will return to action at 2 p.m., Sunday as it opens Southeastern Conference play at home against Mississippi State (9-4). The Bulldogs are coming off a 108-67 win Wednesday over Alcorn State.
"Mississippi State is very good team, I picked them to win the conference this year," said Fortner. "They are a senior-dominated team with great experience on the floor. That will be a very tough game to open the conference schedule with."
The doors at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum will open at 12:30 p.m. It will be Church Bulletin Day as fans that show a church bulletin will receive 2-for-1 admission. Fans that cannot make it to the game can follow along with GameTracker and an audio Webcast at AuburnTigers.com. Tiger fans can listen to the game live on WMXA 97.7 FM with play-by-play from Andy Burcham and color commentary from Arnika Edwards.