Lady Vols Top Tigers

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers gave second-ranked Tennessee a test on Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum before the second-ranked Lady Vols pulled away in the final minutes for a 66-53 SEC women's basketball victory. <p>

Auburn falls to 2-5 in the league and finds itself in a major hole in its quest to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are 14-6 overall.

Tennessee is 6-0 in the league and 17-1 overall with the only loss to top-ranked Connecticut.

"We got a great effort from our players," Auburn coach Joe Ciampi said. "Some teams would have folded when Tennessee made a run in the first half, but we found a defense and played well offensively at the end of the first half to keep it close at halftime."

Tennessee jumped in front 30-13 with an 11-0 push, but the Tigers cut the halftime margin to 33-23. Auburn kept the pressure on to start the second half, cutting the gap to 33-29 but was a close as it would get. AU stayed within striking range until the Lady Vols scored the game's final nine points.

Sophomore Le'Coe Willingham paced Auburn with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Natasha Brackett scored 13 points and added four assists in her first college start.

Tennessee's Kara Lawson scored a game-leading 23 points and added eight rebounds.

UT outrebounded Auburn 49-43 but had 19 turnovers, six more than the Tigers. Auburn shot just 29.7 percent from the field, which was the major difference in the game with the Lady Vols hitting 45.5 from the field. Both teams struggled at the free throw line. AU hit just 14-25 while UT made just 13-25.

Auburn returns to action with a 7 p.m. home game on Thursday vs. Ole Miss.

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