Vandy's Late Run Spoils Fortner's Home SEC Opener

Auburn couldn't hang on to a lead in a women's hoop showdown vs. Vanderbilt.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team was dominated inside by Vanderbilt's Carla Thomas and Ashley Earley as the Tigers lost a late lead and lost to the Commodores 73-67.

After a Natasha Brackett three-point basket with 3:57 remaining the Tigers led 64-60. However, Auburn failed to score again until seven seconds left when the game was already out of reach.

"It's just another game that we couldn't finish out and get the win," said Coach Nell Fortner, who was coaching her first home SEC game. "We had the lead the majority of the game until the end. Against Florida we played for about 33 minutes. Tonight we played for about 37 and a half minutes."

Auburn dropped to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.

Auburn's Marita Payne moved into second place all-time in school history with 195 blocks after an eight-block performance against Vanderbilt. It wasn't enough for the Tigers inside as Thomas and Earley combined for 54 points and 15 rebounds.

"When you give up that many free throws and that many points inside it's hard to win the ball game," Fortner said. "It's something we've got to improve on. We've got to work on not fouling so much and post defense.

"In the second half we didn't play any post defense," she added. "I don't know if it was conditioning or what, but we're going to have to work on it."

Nell Fortner

The 15th-ranked Commodores made 15 of 18 free throws in the second half and 18 of 27 for the game. Vanderbilt extended its win streak against the Tigers to eight games and improved to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the SEC.

Thomas led all scores with 32 points followed by 22 by Earley.

For Auburn, Natasha Brackett scored 18 points with three rebounds. Payne added 13 points and seven boards to go along with her eight blocked shots. Guards Nitasha Brown and Nicole Louden scored 12 apiece for the Tigers.

Forward Louise Emeagi, fresh off a 29-point performance against Florida, was held scoreless against the Commodores.

Auburn has dropped four consecutive games and things won't get any easier for the Tigers. They travel to 16th-ranked Georgia before coming back home to face No. 10 Tennessee and Alabama, then close out the month with a road trip to Baton Rouge to face top-ranked LSU.

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