MSU WNIT Comeback Ends Auburn's Season

Mississippi State rallied in the second half to defeat Auburn in the WNIT third round.

Starkville, Miss.--Foul trouble, too many turnovers and poor free throw shooting ended the Auburn women's basketball team's season in the third round of the WNIT on Thursday night as the Tigers fell 59-54 at Mississippi State.

The home team overcame a 14-point second half deficit to pull out the victory. The Tigers missed two three-point shots in the closing seconds with a chance to tie the game.

In addition to Tyrese Tanner, Tra'Cee Tanner and Peyton Davis fouling out, the Tigers hurt their cause by committing a season-high 26 turnovers and making just 14-24 free throws.

The Tigers also lost their shooting touch in the second half, finishing the night 20-46 from the field after making 12-22 in the first half.

After Auburn controlled the boards in the first half and early in the second half, major foul trouble to centers Tra'Cee Tanner and Davis allowed the home team to get second chance scoring opportunities. "We didn't do a very good job of boxing out like we needed to do," Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said.

Auburn's second-year head coach had praise for her team's two seniors, Tyrese Tanner and Davis. "Both of them did a very good job, not just this year but last year, too, making the adjustment to a new coach, making the adjustment to a different style of play and playing as hard as they could."

Auburn ended its season with a 19-15 record while Mississippi State, which lost two regular season games to Auburn, improved to 22-13.

Despite early foul trouble for Tyrese Tanner the Tigers led the entire first half and took a 28-19 lead into the break. Hasina Muhammad led the Tigers in the opening half with 10 points, three steals and two blocks with Tyrese Tanner playing just three minutes in the period.

The Tigers built their advantage at intermission by making 54.5 percent of their field goals and outscoring Mississippi State 18-6 in the points in the paint statistic.

Auburn led by 14 points with 15:53 to play, but went cold with its shooting. The game was tied 54-54 with 1:39 left after Muhammad made a steal and scored on a rebound, but the Tigers couldn't score after that.

Muhammad led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points, Tyrese Tanner scored 11 and Brandy Montgomery added 10 points. Davis led the Tigers in rebounds with 10.

"Mississippi State made a big run, hit some big shots and got offensive rebounds, which allowed them to get back in the game," Williams-Flournoy said. "We held their key players in check, did a good job on their go-to players. We let (Kendra) Grant go off a little bit. We had lots of turnovers and lot of fouls, and the turnovers (23) we forced them into, we didn't convert them into points."

Muhammad, Hasina 6-10 1-2 13; Tanner, Tyrese 4-12 3-6 11; Montgomery, Brandy 3-6 4-8 10; Tanner, Tra'Cee 3-4 0-0 6; Starr, Allina 2-2 1-2 5; Davis, Peyton 1-6 3-4 5; Frerking, Katie 1-1 0-0 2; Dieng, Khady 0-2 2-2 2; Capers, Cabriana 0-0 0-0 0; Parker, Kiani 0-2 0-0 0; Tucker, Meagan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 14-24 54.

Kendra Grant 7-17 5-6 20; Martha Alwal 4-9 3-7 11; Jerica James 2-5 4-6 9; Savannah Carter 3-6 2-4 8; Dominique Dillingham 1-4 3-6 5; Katia May 2-3 0-0 4; Breanna Richardson 0-7 2-4 2; Ketara Chapel 0-0 0-0 0; Sherise Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-51 19-33 59.

Auburn 28 26 54
Miss. State 19 40 59

3-point goals--Auburn 0-3 (Muhammad, Hasina 0-1; Montgomery, Brandy 0-2), Mississippi State 2-10 (Kendra Grant 1-6; Jerica James 1-3; Dominique Dillingham 0-1).
Fouled out--Auburn-Tanner, Tra'Cee; Tanner, Tyrese; Davis, Peyton, Mississippi State-None.
Rebounds--Auburn 35 (Davis, Peyton 10), Mississippi State 35 (Martha Alwal 11).
Assists--Auburn 8 (Montgomery, Brandy 2; Parker, Kiani 2), Mississippi State 12 (Jerica James 6).
Total fouls--Auburn 27, Mississippi State 17.
Technical fouls--Auburn-None, Mississippi State-None.

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