Bothered by compartment syndrome in her legs that causes cramping and weakness and kept her out of several early season games, the 5-9 Florence native was the catalyst for the Tigers on a night when they built an early lead against an undersized Western Carolina team. In addition to her offensive numbers Boddie added five rebounds and five assists. Coach Nell Fortner said that Boddie's play was a key for the Tigers in the victory.
"I was really pleased with Whitney Boddie," Fortner said. "I thought Whitney had a good game tonight. She's steadily becoming the player we thought we should be. She's just going to get better and better. She's gotten the reps since her injury and now she's getting the confidence."
Despite the easy victory everything wasn't roses for the Tigers as they allowed 26 offensive rebounds and turned the ball over 20 times. Those are numbers that don't normally add up to a victory and Bonner says it's something they must correct heading into SEC play.
"We didn't play up to our ability," Bonner said. "That team wasn't better than us. They just couldn't compete with us, but they had 26 offensive rebounds and we had 20 turnovers. I really don't know what it is that we're doing. I can't say it's youngness, that's not an excuse.
"I'm just glad we got a win, but you can't turn the ball over 20 times and give up all those offensive rebounds," Boddie added. "In a sense with the lack of whatever, if that was a more competitive team we would have probably lost that game. That's the things that get us beat sometimes."
Boddie draws contact in the lane against WCU.
With all the talk of Auburn's size, it was the two smallest players on the court for the Tigers that did the bulk of the damage against the outmanned Catamounts. Both point guards by nature, Boddie and Nitasha Brown were the offensive stars for Auburn as the Tigers built a 14-point lead after the first 20 minutes.
Early on it was the running game and defense for Auburn that set the tone as they jumped out to a quick 13-2 advantage with Boddie's two free throws at the 15:14 mark pushing to lead to 11. From there the two teams would trade baskets back and forth with the lead never getting below eight when Western Carolina cut the lead to 34-26 late in the half.
That's when Boddie and Bonner would take over. First Bonner capitalized on her height advantage to score two easy baskets. Then Boddie finished the half with two fantastic plays. The first came on a steal when she scooped a shot in from close range around a Catamount defender. The final points of the half came on a jumper in the lane by the freshman. That made it 38-24 Tigers.
In the first half Bonner led the Tigers with nine points while Boddie added eight and Brown six. For the half the Tigers shot 51.6 percent from the floor while Western Carolina made just 9-37 shots from the field. The Catamounts were able to stay relatively close thanks to an even rebounding total in the first stanza.
The second half was much of the same for the Tigers as they pushed the lead out to a comfortable margin following an early run by the Catamounts that saw them get within 11 on a three-pointer by April Parker. Boddie then gave the Tigers some breathing room with a bucket and two free throws to push the lead back out to 14 at 46-32. By the time Western Carolina would score again the Tigers would lead 54-32.
From then on it was cruising time for the Tigers as everyone got into the action on this night in the 29-point victory. Brown finished with 10 points and three assists. Starting for the first time this season Aileen Rossouw scored eight points and had six rebounds. Marita Payne scored just four points, but had nine rebounds and five blocks. Coming off the bench KeKe Carrier had two points, five rebounds and six blocked shots in just 11 minutes of action while Joanna Clayden added six points on two three-point baskets. Alexis Ogubie added 10 points and six rebounds in just 17 minutes of action.
The Tigers will take the next two days off before returning to practice on Saturday. Following two days of practice they will again take two days off with final exams going on next week. They return to action Dec. 17 when they face Louisiana-Lafayette at 3 p.m. in Auburn.