Fortner's Tigers Pick Up Hoops Road Win

Starkville, Miss.--Sophomore DeWanna Bonner scored 19 points and pulled in 15 rebounds to lead the Auburn women's basketball team to a 63-57 victory at Mississippi State on Sunday.

The victory evened Auburn's league record at 4-4 and improved the Tigers to 17-7 overall in their push to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

Defense was the key to Auburn's win. The Tigers held the Bulldogs to just 27.8 percent shooting in the first half as the visitors took a 36-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Bulldogs warmed up in the second half and outscored Auburn 33-27, but had too large of a deficit to overcome.

"I thought it was a great effort on our part to come into Starkville and leave with a win," said Auburn coach Nell Fortner. "We haven't won here since 1994. Anytime you can win on the road in the SEC you have got to feel really good about that because wins are tough to come by, period."

The Bulldogs fell to 5-4 in the SEC and 14-9 overall.

The Tigers outshot MSU 38.7 to 33.9 percent for the game and outrebounded the Bulldogs 47-42 thanks to a big effort from Bonner.

"She has just been a monster on the boards this year and that is one area of her game that has improved so much," Fortner says. "I thought she had some big rebounds for us there in the end."

The Tigers got 12 points from junior guard Tamela McCorvey, who added four assists. Freshman Jordan Greenleaf just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Mississippi State was led by Imesia Jackson, who scored 14 points and pulled in nine rebounds.

Jackson's basket with 4:26 left closed the gap to 56-52, but that was the final field goal of the game for the home team. On MSU's final four possessions Auburn forced three turnovers and blocked a shot.

"We just feel real good about our effort and how we hung tough down the stretch," Fortner said.

Auburn returns to action with a 6 p.m. home game on Thursday vs. Tennessee.


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