Lady Tigers Lose Again On the Hardwood

Auburn, Ala.--The slumping Auburn women's basketball team missed a pair of shots in the final seconds as the Tigers fell 60-57 to Alabama on Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

With Auburn having the chance to hold for one shot and the victory, sophomore Nancy Derrick missed a short jumper with Auburn trailing 58-57.

Alabama's LaNisha Cartwell pulled down the rebound and was fouled with 8.6 seconds left. She made both free throws to stretch the lead to 60-57.

Auburn then pushed the ball up for a three-pointer to send the game into overtime. Freshman reserve Ezria Parsons, who had not scored in the game, got an open look from the corner but the shot glanced off the rim and the Tide escaped with the victory.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end," said Auburn coach Joe Ciampi. "Defensively, we did all the little things and that's a credit to this team that fought hard for 40 minutes.

"Offensively, we just couldn't find a way to break it down at the end. They kept their heads up, worked hard. They could have very easily packed it in. That is a credit to them and they are learning."

Auburn falls to 2-9 in the SEC and 14-10 overall. Alabama improved its league mark to 5-5 and is now 15-9 overall. It was a fifth straight win for Tide coach Rick Moody over the Tigers, who once toyed with the Tide in Ciampi's early years at AU.

Auburn's second largest home crowd of the season, 4,632 on Cram the Coliseum day, watched both teams struggle with their shooting. Auburn made just 37.7 percent of its shots. Bama made just 37.0 percent. The difference was from three-point range where the Tide 10 treys and Auburn made six.

Auburn put three players in double figures with Le'Coe Willingham leading the way with 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds. She hit five of seven shots and added two steals and a blocked shot. Willingham said that the Tide defense did a good job of double-teaming her on defense and making it tough to get off shots.

Freshman point guard Nicole Louden scored 13 points in a reserve role, hitting five of nine shots. "The injuries have been extremely frustrating, but we just have to work with the personnel that we have got and try to go out there and get the win."

Another freshman, Natasha Brackett, scored 10 points for the Tigers, who out-rebounded Bama 38-35. Auburn had 15 turnovers, two more than the visitors.

Reserve guard Monique Bivins led Alabama in scoring with 11 points. Shondra Johnson added 10 points and seven assists.

Auburn jumped to an early 9-2 lead at the 15:33 mark on a basket by freshman Brackett, but Alabama rallied and built a five-point lead at 26-21. The Tigers cut the gap to trail 26-25 at halftime.

Auburn returns to action next Sunday with a road trip to Arkansas.


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