Tigers Win at SEC Tourney As Bonner Shines

All-SEC junior DeWanna Bonner was a star in Nashville in Auburn's SEC Women's Basketball Tournament opener.

Nashville, Ala.--With strong shooting in the first half and terrific play throughout the game by junior DeWanna Bonner, Auburn defeated Arkansas 73-51 in the opening round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament.

Playing the late game on Thursday night, Bonner scored 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in what could prove to be a very important win for Coach Nell Fortner's Tigers.

By improving their record to 20-10 overall, the Tigers improved their chances of earning an NCAA Tournament bid. <

"Their is no question I thought we shot the ball well," Fortner said. "I thought our team hung tough and did what we needed to do to win the game."

Bonner was particularly impressive shooting the basketball. She hit 9-13 field goals and 8-10 free throws. She added five assists and three steals.

Bonner's strong rebounding performance helped the Tigers dominate the boards with a 40-20 edge in that statistic that helped overcome 19 turnovers by the Tigers, which was 12 more than the Lady Razorbacks committed. The 20 rebounds was a season-low for the Razorbacks.

"I came out very confident, and we came out with a fire ready to play," said Bonner, who moved into 10th place in Auburn history for both points scored and rebounds on Thursday night. "They (her teammates) came out shooting well and I fed off them and they fed off me and we just kind of got rolling that way."

The victory advances the Tigers into the quarter-finals for a 9 p.m. matchup against No. 3 seed Vanderbilt. The Commodores won the regular season matchup 73-56.

Auburn jumped out to a 7-0 lead to open the game and never trailed in the contest as the Tigers hit 61.5 percent of their field goals in the first half and 55.3 percent for the game.

Bonner led the charge with 15 first half points. The Tigers helped their cause by out-rebounding the Razorbacks 17-11 in the first 20 minutes.

The Tigers built their lead to double figures on a fastbreak basket by Bonner to put AU on top 18-7. Auburn stretched its lead to as many as 15 points in the first half before going into the break with a 41-29 advantage.

Both teams struggled offensively early in the first half. The Razorbacks, who finished the season 17-13, never made a serious run vs. an Auburn team that steadily increased the lead as the second half progressed.

Auburn got a career-high 17 points from junior forward Jordan Greenleaf, who added seven rebounds for the Tigers. Freshman guard Alli Smalley scored 12 for the Tigers.

Brittney Vaughn, a senior guard, led the Lady Razorbacks with 16 points.

Auburn made 26-47 field goals, was 4-13 on threes and hit 17-22 foul shots.

Arkansas hit just 34 percent of its field goals and really struggled from behind the three-point line, making just 1-14. The one three-pointer made was the lowest total of the season for Arkansas. The Razorbacks got to the foul line 23 times, but made just 14.

Box Score

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories