Tanner hit 12-21 field goals, made 5-6 free throws and made four steals while leading Auburn's full-court pressure defense that bothered the Blazers.
The Tigers improved to 17-14 and will play either Western Kentucky or East Carolina in the second round of the tournament at a still to be determined time and place. Those two teams will play on Thursday night.
Junior center Peyton Davis scored 11 points and led the Tigers in rebounds with seven in a game the Tigers held a 43-32 advantage on the boards.
Peyton Davis scores inside for the Tigers.
Senior forward Blanche Alverson added 11 points, all in the second half, and finished with a team-best seven rebounds for the Tigers.
Freshman guard Chadarryl Clay added eight points and six rebounds off the bench.
The taller Tigers dominated the points in the paint statistic 42-20 as well as the points off of turnovers statistic which ended 30-13 in favor of the home team.
UAB, which ended its season with an 18-13 record, was led by 15 points from Chelsee Black. The Blazers were held to 38.5 percent shooting while the Tigers made 44.9 percent of their shots.
UAB was 6-19 on threes while Auburn hit 5-12. Auburn was 13-21 at the foul line while UAB made 11-13.
The Tigers led just 27-22 at halftime, but took control of the game early in the second period.
"It was definitely a better second half than the first half, but that was really to be expected having had a week off for spring break," Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "They still had a little sand between their toes and between their ears and everything else, but I thought they really came back in the second half and played with a lot of intensity and great effort--especially in our press."
The coach had high praise for Tanner, whose previous high scoring game was 26 points vs. North Carolina State early this season. "Tyrese was awesome," Williams-Flournoy said. "She was just all over the floor. She led us in our press. When Ty is so active at the top of the press it is hard to pass over top of her because she is so active. She causes a lot of havoc up there.
"Offensively in the half court, I thought she did a good job of attacking the basket and using her height to shoot over top of the guards," the coach said.
Tanner said she enjoyed the game, especially beating an in-state team that was "smack-talking" during the contest despite being outclassed by the Tigers.
Tanner said the Tigers played "sloppy" basketball at times in the first half. "In the second half, after having a talk at halftime, I think we executed pretty well," she said.
Alverson agreed with Tanner. "Coming back from the (spring) break, we looked we had been on break," she said. "I think our first half was really, really sloppy."
Davis said she was encouraged by how the Tigers outscored UAB 53-35 in the second half. Asked if Auburn can make a strong run in the WNIT, the junior center said, "I really think we can. This team is hungry and I think we want it. I think we recognize we can go far."
UAB Coach Audra Smith had praise for Auburn. "They really rattled us," she said. "We got off to a slow start. Their pressure really affected us."
BLACK, Chelsee 5-9 3-3 15; JONES, Amber 4-8 1-2 10; CHAPMAN, Karisma 4-14 1-2 10; WEYNAND, Kelsie 2-5 0-0 6; WEBB, Dy'mann 1-1 2-2 4; BAUCOM, Essence 0-2 4-4 4; GRIMES, Ashley 1-6 0-0 2; NEWMAN, Khoria 1-1 0-0 2; ANDERSON, Kayla 1-1 0-0 2; KLEIST, Michaelea 1-3 0-0 2; WATSON, Khalilah 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-52 11-13 57.
Tyrese Tanner 12-21 5-6 29; Peyton Davis 5-7 1-2 11; Blanche Alverson 4-12 1-1 11; Chadarryl Clay 3-10 0-0 8; Muhammad, Hasina 2-8 3-6 7; Tra'cee Tanner 2-5 2-3 6; Cabriana Capers 2-3 0-1 4; Najat Ouardad 1-2 0-0 3; Cedricka Sweeting 0-0 1-2 1; Pascale West 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-69 13-21 80.
UAB 22 35 57
Auburn 27 53 80
3-point goals--UAB 6-19 (WEYNAND, Kelsie 2-5; BLACK, Chelsee 2-4; CHAPMAN, Karisma 1-2; JONES, Amber 1-3; WATSON, Khalilah 0-1; GRIMES, Ashley 0-3; BAUCOM, Essence 0-1), Auburn 5-12 (Blanche Alverson 2-6; Chadarryl Clay 2-5; Najat Ouardad 1-1).
Fouled out--UAB-None, Auburn-None. Rebounds--UAB 32 (CHAPMAN, Karisma 5), Auburn 43 (Peyton Davis 7).
Assists--UAB 13 (BAUCOM, Essence 3; CHAPMAN, Karisma 3), Auburn 15 (Muhammad, Hasina 4).
Total fouls--UAB 18, Auburn 17.
Technical fouls--UAB-None, Auburn-None.