Tigers Blast Top 10 Bulldogs

DeWanna Bonner led five Auburn Tigers in double figures as they bombed the 10th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs 82-52 Sunday in Auburn.

Auburn, Ala.—Entering Sunday afternoon's game with 10th-ranked Georgia on a three-game losing streak that included a 33-point drubbing at the hands of #2 Tennessee on the road, the Auburn women's basketball team was looking for a little redemption on Sunday.

They got that and more with an 82-52 win at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum that leaves little doubt the Tigers can be a major player in the SEC this season. Auburn improves to 13-4 overall and 1-1 in SEC play while Georgia loses for just the second time to fall to 14-2, also 1-1 in league action.

It was the first win for a Nell Fortner coached Auburn team over a Top 10 opponent and the first time the Tigers have defeated a Top 10 team period since beating Arkansas in 2003.

Looking for an edge to get the good times flowing once again, the Tigers had a heart to heart before taking on the Bulldogs and freshman guard Alli Smalley said that's just what the team needed to get back on track.

"We actually had a team meeting before the game to get ourselves focused," Smalley said. "We wanted to break that three-game losing streak."

Auburn did that with flying colors before a crowd of 2,893 on Sunday led by junior standout DeWanna Bonner. Finishing 7-14 from the field for a game-high 21 points, Bonner also pulled down 13 rebounds as the smaller Tigers dominated the Bulldogs 41-32 on the glass.

Bonner wasn't the only big contributor for the Tigers though as four more players finished in double figures with Smalley adding 13 and Tamela McCorvey, Trevesha Jackson and Sherell Hobbs all chipping in with 12 points.

Running the show with junior point guard Whitney Boddie out because of academics, Smalley added five assists, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals for an all-around solid performance. Smalley said the key on Sunday was just staying positive and making shots.

"We all had confidence and everyone was knocking down big shots," Smalley said. "We were just feeding off each other. Everybody stepped up and hit big shots when we needed them. We kept feeding off each other and knocking more and more down."

Using a stifling defense, Auburn jumped out to an early lead in the first half with Bonner scoring seven of the Tigers' first 13 points. Trailing from the outset, Georgia pulled within two at 13-11 with a Tasha Humphrey basket with 14:02 left in the first half. It took the Bulldogs nine more minutes to reach the 20-point mark though as Danielle Taylor's jumper with 5:10 left put Georgia at 21 points.

By that time Auburn had distanced itself with everyone pitching in for a 12-point lead at that time. The two teams would trade baskets before a Smalley three gave the Tigers a comfortable cushion. They went into halftime leading 42-29.

The second half was even more dominant for Auburn although Georgia hung around for the opening minutes of the second half. The lead was still at 13 five minutes into the second stanza after a McCorvey basket, and that's when the Tigers put on the afterburners.

Before Georgia would score again Auburn reeled off six-straight points to push the lead to 19. Another 8-2 run followed that up and this one was history as the Tigers held a commanding 64-41 lead with just under eight minutes left in the game. Not letting up, Fortner's team finished off the game by pushing the lead to as many as 34 before taking the 30-point final victory.

Auburn now has a week off before traveling to face the red hot Kentucky Wildcats on the road for a Jan. 20 meeting that will be televised by Big Blue Sports/FSN South at 12 p.m. CST.

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