Bonner, Smalley Spark AU to Win Over Ole Miss

Auburn, Ala.--DeWanna Bonner scored 23 points as Auburn took a hard-fought SEC women's basketball victory defeating Ole Miss 72-65 on Thursday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Earlier in the day the senior from Fairfield had been named the national player of the month for January and she continues to play well in February. Bonner finished with seven rebounds, three assists and just one turnover in 38 minutes.

"I think we have to come out stronger," Bonner said. "We had a slow start. We have to become more focused as a team." It was kind of an ugly win."

Alli Smalley added 15 points for the Tigers and Sherell Hobbs scored 11. Trevesha Jackson added seven rebounds and four points for the Tigers.

Whitney Boddie scored eight points, added eight rebounds and 11 assists for the Tigers.

Auburn didn't put away the pesky Lady Rebels until the closing minutes.

With the Tigers leading just 66-63 after a basket by Lady Rebel Shawn Goff with 2:04 left to play, Auburn increased its lead to four points with 1:10 left when Boddie, who struggled with her shooting, made one of her two free throws.

Auburn stretched the lead to six points with 43 seconds as Bonner scored on a fastbreak layup. Boddie made one of two foul shots with 31 seconds to take the lead to 70-65 and Boddie's steal and layup basket with 17 seconds left ended the scoring.

Auburn shot 44.1 percent from the field to 43.3 percent for Ole Miss as a crowd of 3,266 watched. Auburn was 16-21 at the foul line while Ole Miss made 6-8 free throws.

Auburn out-rebounded the Lady Rebels 39-32 and had 19 turnovers, two more than Ole Miss.

Auburn improved to 22-1 overall and 7-1 in the SEC with the victory. Ole Miss dropped to 14-9 overall and 3-5 in the SEC.

Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said she loved her team's effort against the Tigers in the upset bid vs. fifth-ranked Auburn. "This is a no-brainer, but we played an incredibly good basketball team tonight," she said of Auburn. "We turned the ball over at inopportune times and they scored, which a good team does."

Auburn led by as many as five points in the first half at 19-14 following a 7-0 run, but the Tigers held just a 30-29 edge at halftime.

Both teams were turnover prone against aggressive defenses in the first half. Auburn turned the ball over a dozen times in the first 20 minutes and Ole Miss had 11 turnovers.

Auburn shot just 39.3 percent from the field in the first half, but Ole Miss was colder, hitting just 38.7 percent. Bonner led the Tigers in scoring in the first half with 13 points while Shawn Goff scored 10 for the Lady Rebels.

Auburn built the lead to 55-43 in the second half, but Ole Miss tied the game at 57-57 as Bianca Thomas led a comeback to with her game-high 28 points.

The Tigers regained the lead with two free throws by Sherell Hobbs with 6:22 and led the rest of the night.

"I didn't think we played a very good game," said Auburn coach Nell Fortner, who gave her team a lengthy lecture after the game about their performance.

"I was expecting a little better effort," Fortner added. "Look, I am not disappointed in the win, but there are some things you want to be shoring up at this time. We missed an opportunity to take a step forward."

Fortner was pleased with the play of freshmen subs Chantel Hilliard, who scored six points and added two rebounds in 19 minutes, and Ree-Ree Hobbs, added five points, two steals and a rebound in 12 minutes.

Auburn returns to action on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game at Alabama.

AUBURN 72, OLE MISS 65

OLE MISS (14-9, 3-5 SEC)

Thomas, Bianca 10-17 3-3 28; Goff, Shawn 6-14 2-3 14; Black, Shantell 5-15 0-0 11; Robertson, Elizabeth 2-8 0-0 5; Easley, Alliesha 2-4 1-2 5; Lewis, Katorra 1-1 0-0 2; Byrd, Nikki 0-0 0-0 0; Holloway, Kayla 0-0 0-0 0; Melson, Kayla 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 6-8 65.


AUBURN (22-1, 7-1 SEC)

Bonner, DeWanna 8-18 7-7 23; Smalley, Alli 5-9 1-2 15; Hobbs, Sherell 3-4 5-6 11; Boddie, Whitney 3-8 2-4 8; Hilliard, Chantel 3-5 0-0 6; Hobbs, Reneisha 2-4 1-2 5; Jackson, Trevesha 2-8 0-0 4; Carrier, KeKe 0-3 0-0 0; Simmons, Parrisha 0-0 0-0 0; Jennings, Morgan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-59 16-21 72.

Ole Miss 29 36 65 Auburn 30 42 72 3-point goals--Ole Miss 7-20 (Thomas, Bianca 5-9; Black, Shantell 1-2; Robertson, Elizabeth 1-6; Melson, Kayla 0-1; Easley, Alliesha 0-1; Goff, Shawn 0-1), Auburn 4-9 (Smalley, Alli 4-7; Bonner, DeWanna 0-2).

Fouled out--Ole Miss-None, Auburn-None. Rebounds--Ole Miss 32 (Goff, Shawn 9), Auburn 39 (Boddie, Whitney 8). Assists--Ole Miss 17 (Black, Shantell 8), Auburn 19 (Boddie, Whitney 11). Total fouls--Ole Miss 18, Auburn 8. Technical fouls--Ole Miss-None, Auburn-None. A-3,266


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