Defense Leads Auburn to WNIT Victory

Auburn, Ala.--Nell Fortner's first trip to postseason play as Auburn women's basketball coach got off to a good start with Auburn defeating UAB 74-60 on Sunday to advance to the third round of the WNIT.

The Tigers, who received a first round bye while UAB defeated Davidson, will be on the road for their next game with a 6 p.m. CDT tipoff vs. Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

The victory on Sunday was the 13th straight time the Auburn women's basketball team has defeated UAB.

Auburn won the game by holding UAB to 33.9 percent shooting, including 1-17 from three-point range. Auburn out-rebounded the visitors 44-34 in improving its record to 20-12 while UAB fell to 19-13.

Sophomore Sherrell Hobbs led the Tigers with 17 points. She hit 6-14 field goals and 5-6 foul shots while adding three assists and two steals.

The Tigers got 16 points apiece from sophomores DeWanna Bonner and Whitney Boddie. Bonner hit 6-11 field goals and Boddie made 5-9.

Freshman Jordan Greenleaf led the Tigers in rebounding with seven to go with 10 points and four blocked shots plus two steals.

Forward Jordan Greenleaf shoots for the Tigers.

Fortner said the Tigers concentrated on defending UAB's three-point shot attempts and was pleased the Lady Blazers made just one in the game. "One of our goals was to give up the two instead of the three,," she said. "They only had one or two uncontested threes today. We were pretty much on them all day long."

Auburn led 35-24 in a game in which the Tigers never trailed. The Tigers quickly extended the lead to 45-26.

"I think we came out and played hard in the second half," Fortner said. "We started feeding off each other and had some pretty nice plays. The kids got excited, and that's a good thing. We were really rolling.

"I messed with some combinations trying to get some kids some playing time and experience," Fortner said.. " We got out of a rhythm. Experience is more important than rhythm, I guess."

Auburn shot 42.6 percent from the field despite making just 0-6 threes. The Tigers were 22-26 at the foul line while UAB made 17-18 foul shots.

The Tigers turned the ball over 17 times, three more than UAB which was led by 30 points from Carmen Guzman, who also led all rebounders with eight.

"I am excited about the win," Fortner said. "I think anytime you get a win and advance, that's a good thing playing in a tournament. I am really pleased with that. We had to get a little rust off because we hadn't played in two weeks. I thought we did some really good things in the first half against UAB's zone. That was hard for them to stop. We kind of lost a little bit of our momentum in the second half. We hung in there, and I feel really good about the win."

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