Sophomore guard Brandy Montgomery led all scorers with 22 points while her teammate, junior center Tra’Cee Tanner, added 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
With the victory the Tigers have won four straight games and improved their record to 13-17 while Florida ended its season with a 13-17 mark that included a victory over Auburn in their regular season matchup.
Auburn, the 13th seed, will play No. 5 seed Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Verizon Arena.
Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy's team never trailed in the game vs. Florida and took a 32-18 lead into the halftime break. For the contest the Tigers shot 46.3 percent hitting 25-54 field goals while holding the Gators to 19-60 shooting for 31.7 percent.
"I thought our players came out and started the game exactly how we wanted them to start, and that is playing defense," Williams-Flournoy said. "That has been key for us the last couple of games. Then not only playing defense, but converting some of those turnovers into points for us as well."
“I think our young ladies should get all the credit.,” Auburn’s coach added. “They could have said, ‘the season’s over.' They could have quit, but that is not what they did. They get a lot of credit for continuing to fight, continuing to work hard. I'm just really proud of them for doing that.”
Tanner said the Tigers have changed as a team since the first time they played the Gators. “I think we did complete 360 of how we played earlier in the season. We are a much better team than our record shows. Better late than never, but for it to click right before the tournament, it gives us a lot of momentum to come in, especially our young ones that have to come up and play. I think we have a lot of things that we have to do, but it can be done and each team is beatable.”
Another reason for Auburn’s comfortable victory was a 43-34 rebounding advantage.
The Tigers helped their cause with good free throw shooting, hitting 17-23 to go with 4-14 shooting from behind the three-point line. Florida was 1-12 on threes and 10-17 at the foul line.
Although Auburn’s full-court pressure defense only led to 16 turnovers for the Gators, Florida struggled get the ball into the front court and quickly get into its offensive sets.
"It's so funny to look back at the games we played," said Williams-Flournoy, whose team was 0-13 in SEC games before going on its current winning streak. "We went back and looked at our game against Florida the first time in January--we were awful, we couldn't even recognize what team was out there on the floor. We were really bad.
"Really, there was no energy. There was no effort. There was no hustle. They just weren't playing very hard.
"We continued to tell them again, that's not the team we are," the coach added. "They rediscovered who they want to be. That is what we want to continue to do."
Auburn’s margin of victory of 22 points was the largest of the season vs. an SEC opponent. The result also ended a five-game losing streak to the Gators.
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