Good Effort For Tigers Vs. Pro Team

Auburn, Ala.--Facing an an exhibition opponent featuring a complete roster of WNBA players, the Auburn women's basketball team made a strong run at the pros before falling 75-66.

The Premier Players team was nursing a two-point lead in the final minutes at 66-64 before pulling away late for a 75-66 victory on Saturday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

"We did a lot of good things out there today," said Auburn coach Joe Ciampi. "I thought this was a great learning experience for our team."

Several of Ciampi's younger players came up with big games. Newcomer Tia Miller led all scorers and rebounders with 15 points and 12 boards. Second year guard contributed 12 points and five rebounds.

Senior Carol Smith, who is making the move from two-guard to the point, added 12 points and five assists with just two turnovers.

Trisha Stafford led the pros with 12 points and eight rebounds. Lisa Sheppard scored 11 points and former Georgia All-American twins Coco Miller (nine points, and six rebounds) and Kelly Miller (eight points, three rebounds) also contributed to the Premier Players' cause.

Auburn trailed 35-32 at halftime and saw the deficit grow into double figures at 49-39 on a three-point jumper by Octavia Blue with 13:04 left in the game.

The Tigers rallied with good defense down the stretch. A pair of free throws by Le'Coe Willingham cut the lead to 66-64 with 3:04 to play, but that is as close as Auburn could get. The Tigers didn't score again until the final second.

Auburn managed to hit just 1-11 three-pointers while the pros hit 7-17. Auburn made 41.3 percent of its field goals. Auburn hit 13-17 free throws and outrebounded Premier Players 41-37.

Ciampi said he liked the way that Miller attacked the boards and he liked the aggressiveness of Derrick. Eight players saw 11 or minutes of playing time and Ciampi says that could be a sign of things to come. "I like our depth," he says. "We would definitely like to use eight or nine players extensively," he said.

Auburn returns to action on Friday at 5 p.m. against Sports Tours in the first half of a doubleheader with the men's team that will play Double Pump All-Stars at 7 p.m.

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