Freshman Sparks Fortner's Tigers to SEC Win

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn women's basketball team evened its SEC record at 3-3 on Sunday with a 68-42 victory over Mississippi State.

Freshman center Cassie Moore sparked the Tigers with her collegiate high point game with 17 points off the bench. She made 7-9 field goals, was 3-3 at the foul line, added five rebounds and blocked two shots.

"I thought Cassie did a really good job being strong inside and being quick off her feet," said Auburn coach Nell Fortner, whose team outscored the Lady Bulldogs in the paint by a 44-14 margin. Fortner noted that stronger inside play had been a point of emphasis in practice the previous week.

Cassie Moore shoots for the Tigers in their victory over Mississippi State on Sunday.

Moore said, "I have been working with Coach Fortner and our post coach on my low post moves, which has really given me confidence inmy game. I have also been working with the guards, which got us all on the same page. All these things are what really helped me today. I just had a lot of confidence so the shots kept dropping."

The Tigers improved to 15-6 overall with their second straight victory while Mississippi State fell to 14-8 overall and 2-5 in the Southeastern Conference.

Auburn took control of the game in the first half by holding the Lady Bulldogs to just 22 points. MSU hit just 10-32 first half shots and was 0-6 on threes while Auburn made 14-31 field goals, 2-7 threes and was 5-5 at the free throw line to lead by 13 points at intermission.

Individually, junior DeWanna Bonner led the Tigers in the first half in scoring with nine points and in rebounds with six. She finished with 13 points and a dozen rebounds.

Any remaining doubt about who would win was erased early in the second half as the Tigers outscored the Lady Bulldogs 21-4 after intermission to take complete command of the contest.

Fortner said the game plan was to take away Mississippi State's long-range shooting. The visitors made just 1-12 treys.

"It was very important for us to not let them get hot at the three-point line," Fortner said. "They are a very good three-point shooting team. That last one (three-point attempt) at the very end, it just came as a bank shot. I am proud of how we shut them down in that area."

Auburn shot 47.5 percent from the field and was 2-10 on threes and 10-10 at the foul line. Mississippi State hit just 25.4 percent of its field goals and was 7-8 at the foul line.

The Tigers out-rebounded State 45-36, but had 19 turnovers to 17 for State. Auburn blocked nine shots in the game and State had no blocks.

Sherrell Hobbs scored a dozen points for the Tigers while Marneshia Richard scored 12 points to lead State. Robin Porter, the sister of former AU men's star Chris Porter, scored 10 for the Lady Bulldogs.

Auburn returns to action Thursday with a 6 p.m. CST tipoff at Florida.

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