Turnovers Doom Tigers in Road Loss to Rebels

Oxford, Miss.--Ole Miss forced 24 turnovers against a sluggish Auburn team as the Rebels surprised the Tigers 76-68 in an SEC women's basketball game on Thursday night at the Tad Smith Coliseum.

Auburn jumped to an early nine-point lead, but Ole Miss jumped ahead with an 11-0 run and the visitors never recovered. By halftime it was the Rebels who were ahead by 11 points with a 37-26 advantage.

The setback dropped Auburn's record to 18-8 overall and 6-5 in the SEC, damaging the team's late season charge to earn an NCAA Tournament berth.

Ole Miss improved to 5-7 in the league and 11-14 overall.

"Ole Miss just started wanting it a little more and taking it at us and we didn't have much of an answer for it," Auburn coach Nell Fortner said. "It is just disappointing."

The Tigers struggled in a variety of aspects of their play, but Fortner singled out the turnovers as the biggest problem. "That is what really killed us," she said. "They came in flurries. We had three, four, five in a row and it is hard to recover from that, especially when they were getting out and getting layups off of them."

Auburn shot 44.8 percent from the field and made just 4-16 threes while Ole Miss made 44.6 percent of its field goals and 6-10 threes. A big statistic was that the Rebels had 10 fewer turnovers.

The Tigers cut the Ole Miss lead to four points in the second half, but could get no closer as the Rebels preserved the victory by making free throws in the closing minutes.

Auburn out-rebounded Ole Miss 42-28, but the home team countered that by making 20-25 free throws compared to 12-16 for the visitors.

Sherrell Hobbs led the Tigers with 25 points and six rebounds, but she also had six turnovers. It was her fourth game this season in which she has scored 20 or more.

DeWanna Bonner added 20 points for the Tigers plus 10 rebounds, but she was also responsible for 10 turnovers as she struggled against an Ole Miss defense that double-teamed the Auburn junior.

Jordan Greenleaf added eight points and eight rebounds for Auburn and Alli Smalley added seven points and seven assists, but made just 3-13 field goals and turned the ball over five times.

Bianca Thomas led the Rebels in scoring with 16 points.

Box Score

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