Fortner's Finale A Loss In SEC Tournament

The Auburn women's basketball team lost in the opening round of the conference tournament.

Nashville--Florida's first half rebounding edge and a big margin in points scored at the free throw line were the difference as the Gators took a 70-60 victory over Auburn in the opening game of the 2012 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament.

Florida made 20-26 free throws while the Tigers hit 7-10 at the foul line.

The Gators controlled the boards in the first 20 minutes to build a nine-point lead at halftime. For the game Florida enjoyed a 48-41 edge in rebounds.

The free throws and rebounds were too much for the Tigers to overcome despite a season-high 20 points from freshman Hasina Muhammad, who did all of her scoring in the second period. She also led Auburn in rebounds with nine.

"I guess she kind of woke up in the second half and decided she wanted to play ball," Fortner said of the team's All-SEC freshman guard. "She did a great job on the offensive boards."

Hasina Muhammad drives to the basket for the Tigers.

The game was the finale as head coach at Auburn for Fortner, who last week announced her resignation, effective at the end of the season.

"We couldn't get ourselves to the free throw line as much as we needed to," Fortner said. "Florida sure could. Isn't that amazing?

"When you look at the stats we had more field goals and more threes than they did, but we couldn't get to that free throw line as much as they could," the coach added. "They are normally the worst free throw shooting team in the conference. Today they were the best free throw shooting team in the conference."

Auburn hit 24-71 field goal attempts for 33.8 percent and made 5-13 threes. Florida hit 23-65 field goals for 35.4 percent and was 4-18 on threes.

The Tigers committed 13 turnovers, one fewer than Florida.

Junior forward Blanche Alverson provided the offensive punch in the first half for the Tigers, scoring 12 of her 16 points in the opening period. She also contributed seven rebounds for the game.

Sophomore forward Tyrese Tanner added 10 points and three rebounds for the Tigers.

Jordan Jones led Florida in scoring with 17 points while Jennifer George contributed 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Florida, considered a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, improved its record to 19-11. Auburn ended its season with a 13-17 record.

Fortner said that she plans to live in Auburn and be supportive of the program next season. "I am looking forward to watching the progress," she said.

AUBURN (60)
Muhammad, Hasina 7-19 6-8 20; Alverson, Blanche 6-13 1-2 16; Tanner, Tyrese 4-11 0-0 10; Ouardad, Najat 2-6 0-0 4; Jennings, Morgan 2-8 0-0 4; Hilliard, Chantel 1-3 0-0 2; Glymph, Camille 1-4 0-0 2; Williams, Jassany 1-6 0-0 2; Davis, Peyton 0-0 0-0 0; Simmons, Parrisha 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-71 7-10 60.

FLORIDA (70)
Jones,Jordan 5-11 4-4 17; Bartley,Lanita 5-11 2-3 13; George,Jennifer 5-12 2-5 12; Stewart,Azania 4-9 2-2 10; Allen,Deana 3-7 2-2 8; Madu,Ndidi 1-6 5-6 7; Bonds,Jaterra 0-5 3-4 3; Svete,Lily 0-2 0-0 0; Vilaro Aragones,A 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-65 20-26 70.

AUBURN 25 35 60
FLORIDA 34 36 70

3-point goals--AUBURN 5-13 (Alverson, Blanche 3-8; Tanner, Tyrese 2-2; Glymph, Camille 0-3), FLORIDA 4-18 (Jones,Jordan 3-7; Bartley,Lanita 1-4; Allen,Deana 0-1; Madu,Ndidi 0-1; Bonds,Jaterra 0-2; Svete,Lily 0-2; Vilaro Aragones,A 0-1).
Fouled out--AUBURN-Tanner, Tyrese, FLORIDA-None.
Rebounds--AUBURN 41 (Muhammad, Hasina 9), FLORIDA 48 (George,Jennifer 14).
Assists--AUBURN 5 (Jennings, Morgan 2), FLORIDA 10 (Bonds,Jaterra 2; Bartley,Lanita 2; Madu,Ndidi 2).
Total fouls--AUBURN 20, FLORIDA 15.
Technical fouls--AUBURN-None, FLORIDA-None.

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