The Tigers improved to 5-0 with a 76-58 victory in a women's college basketball game that wasn't as close as the score indicates. Auburn jumped to a quick 12-0 lead and was never threatened on a night that Coach Joe Ciampi was able to clear the bench.
Before the game Ciampi said that he wanted to see his team control the boards and shut down UAB's star player, 6-2 senior forward Natasha Thomas. Both missions were accomplished. The Tigers held a 52-35 rebounding edge and limited Thomas to just eight points as she made just two of nine field goals.
"We limited Thomas to just 11 touches the entire game so that was good to see," said Ciampi, who was able to clear his bench and play 10 reserves.
Sophomore guard Natasha Brackett led all scorers with 17 points. She scored 15 in the first half as Auburn took a 43-28 lead into intermission. For the game she made 7-11 field goals. Brackett was Auburn's leading scorer coming into the contest at 12.3 per outing.
Tia Miller contributed with a double-double. The junior forward was the game's leading rebounder with 11 and she scored 11. Miller's defense also helped shut down Thomas.
Tia Miller shoots a foul shot vs. UAB.
"Thomas was averaging like 22 points per game and we knew she was a great three-point shooter so our plan was to keep her from getting the ball," Miller said. "We made sure we stayed in her face when we were in zone. It wasn't easy, but we held her to eight points. I thought we also did a great job rebounding, which is one of our main goals this year if we are going to have the type of team we want to have."
Junior point guard Nancy Derrick scored eight points for Auburn and so did third string center Crispina Correia, who made all four of her field goals in just six minutes of action.
Neither team had a good night shooting the ball. Auburn made just 42.9 percent of its shots, but UAB managed to hit just 31.7 percent. The Tigers were 7-24 on three-pointers and UAB hit 7-27. Auburn was 9-15 at the free throw line and the Lady Blazers made 13-20. Auburn forced a dozen turnovers and committed 14.
"We are making progress as a team," Ciampi says. "We still have work to do in a lot of areas, but I am encouraged by a lot of things that we are seeing."
UAB, which fell to 1-3, was led Chantell Thomas, who scored 14 points. Nobody else wearing green scored in double figures on Tuesday night.
Auburn continues its nine-game home stand with a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum vs. Furman.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Auburn improved its all-time record to 23-4 vs. UAB and the Tigers have won 12 straight.