Tigers Struggle In Homecourt Setback

Auburn, Ala.--A dismal offensive performance was too much to overcome as Auburn suffered an embarrassing homecourt SEC women's basketball loss to Mississippi State on Sunday.

Auburn was outscored 57-45 by an opponent that came into the contest 0-9 in SEC games. Auburn, which was 6-2 in the SEC 72 hours before the tipoff on Sunday at the Auburn Arena, fell to 6-4 in the league including a Thursday night blowout loss at Kentucky.

The game was also notable for the end of Alli Smalley's streak of 106 consecutive starts for the Tigers. Smalley, who has missed practice with strep throat, tried to play but struggled with five points and five turnovers in 19 minutes of action off the bench.

Smalley is second in Auburn history in consecutive starts behind 118 by Kristen Mulligan.

Smalley, wearing AU's light pink uniform the Tigers used for breast cancer awareness day, shoots on Sunday at Auburn Arena.

Sophomore point guard Morgan Toles, one of Auburn's key players, had her worst game of the season. She turned the ball over five times and didn't score before fouling out in 25 minutes of action.

Other than 19 points from sophomore guard Blanche Alverson, who hit 8-17 shots, and 12 points off the bench from junior forward Chantel Hilliard the Tigers struggled to score.

Auburn hit just 33.3 percent of its 51 field goals. MSU wasn't much better, hitting 37.9 percent from the field. However, the Bulldogs made 8-17 threes while Auburn hit 4-11 for a 12 points advantage on treys, which was the final margin in the game.

"I don't know what to say," Fortner said. "We just weren't ready to play and didn't bounce back from the game in Kentucky. It was a long day for us. We just have got to figure out how to get this team back on track and get back in it.

"It just wasn't a very good shooting day," Fortner added. "It is just very disappointing. It was just a bad day all-around."

Auburn fell to 13-10 overall and damaged its hopes of earning an NCAA Tournament bid. Mississippi State improved to 9-13

Porsha Porter led the Bulldogs with 21 points. Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning credited her team's defense in the second half with being the difference after leading just 29-28 at intermission. "Our defense picked up and Auburn's field goal percentage went down," she said.

The Tigers will return to action with a Thursday game at LSU.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (57)
Porsha Porter 8-16 0-0 21; Mary Kathryn Govero 5-10 0-0 12; Diamber Johnson 3-11 2-2 9; Catina Bett 3-12 0-1 6; Ashley Brown 2-4 0-0 4; Danielle Rector 1-3 2-2 4; Judith Tabala 0-0 1-2 1; Brittany Young 0-0 0-0 0; Katia May 0-1 0-0 0; Darriel Gaynor 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 5-7 57.

AUBURN (45)
Alverson, Blanche 8-17 0-0 19; Hilliard, Chantel 4-8 4-4 12; Tanner, Tyrese 1-6 3-4 5; Smalley, Alli 2-7 0-1 5; Greenleaf, Jordan 2-4 0-0 4; Glymph, Camille 0-2 0-0 0; Williams, Jassany 0-1 0-0 0; Davis, Peyton 0-0 0-0 0; Strain, Courtney 0-0 0-1 0; Simmons, Parrisha 0-1 0-0 0; Jennings, Morgan 0-0 0-0 0; Toles, Morgan 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 17-51 7-10 45.

Mississippi State 29 28 57
Auburn 28 17 45

3-point goals--Mississippi State 8-15 (Porsha Porter 5-6; Mary Kathryn Govero 2-4; Diamber Johnson 1-2; Danielle Rector 0-2; Darriel Gaynor 0-1), Auburn 4-11 (Alverson, Blanche 3-7; Smalley, Alli 1-2; Tanner, Tyrese 0-2).
Fouled out--Mississippi State-None, Auburn-Toles, Morgan.
Rebounds--Mississippi State 38 (Catina Bett 11), Auburn 37 (Hilliard, Chantel 6; Tanner, Tyrese 6).
Assists--Mississippi State 15 (Diamber Johnson 6), Auburn 10 (Glymph, Camille 3).
Total fouls--Mississippi State 13, Auburn 11.
Technical fouls--Mississippi State-None, Auburn-None.
A--3,047

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