Tigers' Fast Pace Dooms Temple in AU Opener

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn didn't make a good percentage of its field goals on Monday night in a women's basketball victory over Temple, but the Tigers sure launched a lot of them in the 2008-2009 season home opener. The result was a 95-76 victory for 20th-ranked Auburn.

Coach Nell Fortner's team put up 78 field goals, including 17 three-pointers and 36 free throws, as they improved their record to 2-0 with their racehorse style of play. Temple fell to 1-1.

As is normally the case, All-SEC senior DeWanna Bonner led the charge for the Tigers. She scored a game-high 29 points, hitting 10-22 field goals, including 2-4 threes. She was also 7-8 at the foul line and led all rebounders with nine.

Bonner also made five steals, an impressive night for anyone much less one who was sick with an upper respiratory problem during the game and headed to the doctor after the contest.

The Tigers made just 41 percent of their field goals to 50 percent for the visitors, but the Owls put up 20 fewer shots.

Auburn hit 8-17 threes to 4-18 for the visitors. Auburn was 23-36 at the foul line while Temple made 14-19 free throws.

"To score 95 points and shoot the ball as poorly as we shot it tonight is amazing to me," Fortner said. "I am pleased we can find ways to score and win ball games and score that many points."

Fortner said the Tigers missed too many good looks and offensive rebounds, added, "The potential of what we can do is very encouraging. I thought we beat a very good Temple team. We were wore them out. That is something we are trying to do within this offense. I thought we saw the veteran presence tonight. There was no panic or worry."

The Tigers got 20 points from senior guard Sherell Hobbs and 18 from sophomore guard Alli Smalley while senior point guard Whitney Boddie came off the bench to chip in with 11 points and seven assists.

Alli Smalley hit 7-16 field goals and 4-10 threes.

Auburn led 37-34 at halftime despite making just 31.8 percent of its field goals to 51.9 percent for the visitors. The Tigers managed to put up 44 shots in the first half compared to 27 for the Owls.

Bonner led all scorers in the first half with 15 points and was the top rebounder in the first 20 minutes with six.

The Tigers took charge of the game early in the second half. Smalley got Auburn's run started with a jump shot and made it 42-34 with a three-point bomb seconds later.

Hobbs then hit a three from the corner and added the free throw for a four-point play and the Tigers were up by 12 less than two minutes in the second half and were never seriously threatened after that.

Bonner said that stretch was big for the Tigers with Smalley getting hot for the Tigers.

"Everytime time they hit a shot she came back and hit a bigger sho and that took their momentum away," Bonner said. "Then Sherell hit the big three with the and-one and that really killed their confidence.

Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said, "It was a very high scoring game. I know the last game Auburn put up 91 points and I see why. They have a lot of great offensive players. They are fast-paced, up-tempo and are going to score a lot of points. They will create a lot of easy opportunities for themselves.

"I thought in the first half our zone was pretty good," she added. "They only scored 37 points in the first half against our zone. They weren't making any outside shots. Alli Smalley knocked in a couple of threes and I think they gained a lot of confidence after that. It seemed like every shot they threw up after that went in."

Whitney Boddie hit 4-7 field goals on Monday night for the Tigers.

Auburn was out-rebounded 41-40, but had 19 fewer turnovers than the Owls who lost the ball 29 times trying to deal with the fast pace. The Tigers had 16 steals with Boddie and freshman point guard Morgan Jennings making three apiece.

Jennings had an off night shooting, making just 1-7 field goals, but she had six assists and five rebounds and impressed Fortner with her hustle.

Next on the schedule is a game on Wednesday at Georgia Southern followed by a Sunday home date vs. Ohio State with tipoff set for 2 p.m.

Box Score


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