Tigers Beat Bama to Lead SEC, Tennessee Next

Auburn, Ala.—DeWanna Bonner scored 24 points and Whitney Boddie added 12 points and 12 assists as Auburn beat Alabama 84-66 to improve to 19-0 and 4-0 in SEC play.

The Tigers are the only SEC team that has not suffered a loss in the league with Vandy being upset on Thursday night by Georgia.

Auburn, like it has done many times this season, wasn't hitting on all cylinders in the first half. Despite the Crimson Tide coming in at 12-7 and 0-4 in the league, the Tigers led by just three points at halftime, 39-36.

However the second 20 minutes of the game proved to be a different story once again as Auburn outscored Alabama 45-30.

"I thought we shot the ball really well in the second half," Fortner said. "Obviously 73, 74 percent is a nice shooting night. I thought we found what we needed to find against their zone defense and took advantage of it. That was nice. We got some nice looks at the basket. I'm pleased with the win."

The victory against the Tide in front of 4,326 fans sets the Tigers up for possibly the biggest game of the Nell Fortner era on Sunday against No. 10 Tennessee (15-3, 4-1).

"That seems to be the story of this team, doesn't it?" Fortner said of the first half. "Sometimes games are just like that. As much we just want to say, ‘It's Alabama. It's Alabama,' maybe Tennessee was looming in the back of their heads.

"I know we worked hard to prepare them for this game and prepare them for this game, but kids are kids. Sometimes it takes a little more to get them focused. Maybe the halftime score got them a little more focused to do some things in the second half."

Alabama had made just 5-56 three-point baskets in the previous three games, but was 5-9 from long range in the first 20 minutes.

It was Auburn on fire in the second half as the Tigers made 17-23 shots from the field, including 3-4 on threes, to pull away Alabama.

All five Auburn starters shot better than 50 percent from the floor and all five were in double figures scoring. For the game Auburn made 34-55 shots from the field, 6-11 threes and 10-16 free throws.

Trevesha Jackson added 10 points and three rebound for the Tigers. Fellow senior Sherell Hobbs had 15 points, four rebounds and three steals while sophomore Alli Smalley chipped in 13 points.

As a team, Auburn had an impressive 25 to 12 assist to turnover ratio. In addition to Boddie's 12 assists, Bonner had six and Smalley had three.

The Tigers have beaten Alabama 10 of the last 11 games including the last six in the series.

Asked if Fortner thought the upcoming game against Tennessee is the biggest of her career at Auburn, she responded, "Yeah, I would say that. It's a big game.

"I think we match up really well with them," she added. "I think size-wise we match up well. We just have to get on the floor and bang it out.

Tipoff for Tennessee at Auburn is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday with television coverage on CSS. Auburn officials are hoping for the largest crowd in AU women's basketball history for the game. More than 5,000 tickets have been pre-sold.

"It's a game where you've got senior leadership, we're playing at home and we (current team members) have never beaten Tennessee before," Fortner stated. "There are a lot of factors to motivate us, and we'll use them all to motivate us. You've still got to get on the floor and play the game."

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