Tigers Blitz Bama As Carrier Returns

The Auburn women's basketball team took a 93-61 victory over the Crimson Tide.

Auburn, Ala.--Whitney Boddie said that Coach Nell Fortner challenged the Auburn women's basketball team to raise its level of performance to end a two-game SEC losing streak.

Auburn did that and more as the Tigers pounded Alabama 93-61 on Thursday night as Boddie led the charge with a career-high 12 assists to go with 10 points and just two turnovers.

The Tigers, who improved to 16-7 overall and 3-4 in the SEC, delivered a knockout blow early in the game. Auburn led 22-1 on a basket at the 14:28 mark by Trevesha Jackson and never was challenged the rest of the night.

The Tigers led 47-23 at halftime and Nell Fortner was able to clear the bench vs. a Tide team that fell to 10-13 overall and 0-8 in the SEC. The 93 points tied the most ever scored by an Auburn team vs. Alabama. The first time was in a 27-point victory in 1993.

"It feels good," said point guard Boddie, a sophomore from Florence. "They are Alabama and you want to beat them. You want to beat them at table tennis. It is just one of those things."

Boddie noted it was also important to finally get an SEC homecourt win. "We were like 0-3 in the SEC at home so that feels really good."

The game marked the 2007 SEC debut of 6-7 sophomore center Keke Carrier, who saw limited action off the bench after finding out just hours before the conference opener on Jan. 4th vs. Ole Miss she had a stress fracture in her left foot.

Carrier returned to practice for some limited work on Wednesday and was cleared to play on Thursday. She scored five points and added two rebounds and two blocked shots in eight minutes.

"Keke brings us like the biggest lift ever," Boddie says. "Just having her on the floor tonight brought our spirits up. We were in a little slump, but now we are starting to build a little run even though it was one game."

Keke Carrier's return gave the Tigers a boost.

Carrier says she played without pain in the foot as a crowd of 2,216 watched the action, which was up-tempo much of the night.

"Coach Fortner told us to push the ball and that is when we are at our best," Boddie says. "We are very athletic so we tried to push the ball every time down the floor. If we don't have a good shot, play with some poise and pull it back out and get a good shot. I think we did a good job of taking what they gave us."

Tide coach Stephany Smith wasn't happy as she watched the Tigers beat Alabama for the fifth straight time. Smith notes that she felt good about how her team practiced going into the game and wasn't expecting to get blitzed to open the contest. "We are way too fragile to have the kind of start we had," she said.

Alabama shot just 26.7 percent in the first half while Auburn hit 51.5 percent in building the 24-point halftime advantage.

"You have to give Auburn a lot of credit for how they attacked the basket, not only in the halfcourt set, but in transition as well," she said. "We were just very poor in the first four minutes. For whatever reason, I am not so sure why nine of first 11 shots needed to be three-pointers and bad three-pointers at that."

Auburn's Fortner said the win was a big one for the Tigers, who were led in scoring by 18 points from sophomore DeWanna Bonner.

"We needed a win," the coach said. "I thought we played very well to get the win."

Fortner said it is time for the Tigers to make a run at postseason play and she made that clear to the Tigers before the game. "February is an important month for us," she said. "We have eight games in this month. This is where you make your hay right now to move on to the next level and get to the NCAA Tournament, which is what we want to do."

The Auburn coach noted she was particularly pleased with Boddie's play. "She set the tone tonight on both ends of the floor," Fortner said.

Auburn got 14 points from Tamela McCorvey, 12 from Jackson off the bench and nine from Sherrell Hobbs, who added a team-high seven rebounds.

The Tigers also go strong play from the bench, which scored 17 points in the first half, just six less than the entire Tide team. "I thought everybody was ready to play tonight," Fortner said.

Kate Mastin led the Tide with 16 points and Navonda Moore added 13.

The Tigers return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Mississippi State.

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