Tigers Win Fortner's Home Finale

The Auburn women's basketball team rallied to defeat Ole Miss at the Auburn Arena.

Auburn, Ala.--Nell Fortner won her final home game as head coach of the Auburn women's basketball team, but it was a struggle as the Tigers rallied late to defeat Ole Miss 46-43 on Sunday.

Defense and clutch play in the closing minutes by sophomore forward Tyrese Tanner were the difference.

Tanner hit one free throw with 2:17 left to tie the game and she made two foul shots with 1:51 left to give Auburn its first lead of the game at 45-43.

Neither team scored until 24.1 seconds remained when point guard Jet Ouradad hit one of two free throws after she pulled in an offensive rebound and was fouled.

Ole Miss got the ball back with a chance to tie the game with a trey, but Auburn's pressure defense didn't let the Rebels get a shot launched as time expired.

Auburn improved to 13-16 overall and 5-11 in the SEC. Ole Miss, which lost to Auburn 67-54 in Oxford on January 29th, fell to 12-17 overall and 2-14 in the SEC.

"They just hung tough and played some smart basketball down the stretch," Fortner said of her team that did not allow Ole Miss to score in the final three minutes after trailing the Rebels by as much as 13 points.

"There was a lid on the basket for us today," Fortner said. "We were getting some good looks."

Freshman Hasina Muhammad was Auburn's leading scorer with 19 points and Tanner scored 14 points and led the Tigers in rebounding with seven.

"I just had a bad first half, wasn't hitting anything, and making turnovers," Tanner said. "Coach Fortner gave us a great talk at halftime telling us to keep our confidence up."

Tanner said the Tigers wanted to win the home finale for their ooach. "It felt pretty good," she pointed out. "This is our last home game with her and it's really special for us to come out and get the win for her. Now we need to go on to the SEC Tournament and win for her."

Fortner was honored postgame along with the seniors in the home finale.

Fortner said the game was a struggle for the Tigers. "We couldn't get over that hump," the coach said of her team's struggles to get control of the game. "I am really proud of how we hung tough and kept believing.

The Tigers will return to action at the SEC Tournament on Thursday in Nashville. Tipoff is set for noon CST as the No. 9 seed Auburn team will face No. 8 seed Florida.

OLE MISS (43)

Byrd, Nikki 7-10 3-4 17; McFarland, Valencia 5-13 0-0 10; Faleru, Tia 4-7 1-2 9; McCray, Danielle 2-7 2-2 6; Singletary, Amber 0-5 1-2 1; Marbra, Courtney 0-0 0-0 0; Hameth, Whitney 0-1 0-0 0; Jackson, Monique 0-0 0-0 0; McFerrin, Maggie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-43 7-10 43.

AUBURN (46)

Muhammad, Hasina 8-17 3-3 19; Tanner, Tyrese 4-10 6-9 14; Hilliard, Chantel 2-4 1-3 5; Williams, Jassany 1-4 2-2 4; Glymph, Camille 1-6 0-0 3; Ouardad, Najat 0-4 1-2 1; Davis, Peyton 0-0 0-0 0; Alverson, Blanche 0-4 0-0 0; Simmons, Parrisha 0-3 0-0 0; Jennings, Morgan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-53 13-19 46.

Ole Miss 24 19 43
Auburn 17 29 46

Three-point goals--Ole Miss 0-7; McFarland, Valencia 0-4; McCray, Danielle 0-1; Singletary, Amber 0-1; Hameth, Whitney 0-1), Auburn 1-9 (Glymph, Camille 1-3; Ouardad, Najat 0-4; Alverson, Blanche 0-1; Simmons, Parrisha 0-1).
Fouled out--Ole Miss-None, Auburn-None.
Rebounds--Ole Miss 33 (McCray, Danielle 10), Auburn 34 (Tanner, Tyrese 7).
Assists--Ole Miss 7 (McFarland, Valencia 4), Auburn 6 (Glymph, Camille 2; Muhammad, Hasina 2).
Total fouls--Ole Miss 19, Auburn 9.
Technical fouls--Ole Miss-None, Auburn-None.
Att.-3,485


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