Bonner, Seniors Lead Auburn to Road Victory

The Auburn women's basketball team won for the 25th time to keep its lead in the SEC race.

Starkville, Miss.--Seniors DeWanna Bonner, Whitney Boddie and Sherell Hobbs each hit a pair of clutch free throws in the final seconds as Auburn stayed in first place in the SEC women's basketball race with a 63-58 victory over Mississippi State on Sunday.

Bonner, who scored 25 points and added 10 rebounds, made a pair of free throws with 22.9 seconds left to put the Tigers up 59-55. With 59 seconds left she had put the Tigers ahead 57-55 with a steal and fastbreak basket.

After an old-fashioned three-point play by Mississippi State's Alexis Rack cut the lead to 59-58 with 18.1 seconds left, Boddie was fouled and hit two free throws with 17.4 seconds remaining.

Rack then missed a long three-point shot. Hobbs grabbed the rebound and iced the victory by making two foul shots with 5.6 seconds remaining.

The victory improved the Tigers to 25-1 overall this season and 10-1 in the SEC. Auburn is one game ahead of Vanderbilt, which improved to 9-2 in the SEC with an 80-64 victory over Georgia on Sunday while the other team tied for second, Florida, suffered its third conference loss.

Auburn will play its final regular season road game on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Vanderbilt.

In a physical, defensive-oriented game, Auburn shot 42.4 percent from the field hitting 21-49 field goals. State made 23-60 for 38.6 percent.

Auburn was just 1-3 on treys as Auburn's best outside shooter, Alli Smalley, did not score. State hit 6-19 threes.

The home team enjoyed a 39-33 rebounding edge, but had 20 turnovers, three more than Auburn.

Auburn was 20-28 at the foul line while Mississippi State made 6-7 free throws.

DeWanna Bonner shoots vs. Mississippi State on Sunday. State wore pink uniforms as part of a national breast cancer awareness program.

Bonner, who recorded her 38th career double-double despite being sidelined briefly in the second half after taking a blow to the head, hit 7-18 field goals and 11-12 free throws.

Boddie, who was 6-7 shooting in the first half, made 7-11 field goals and 4-4 foul shots. She added five rebounds and three assists.

Hobbs scored 13 points for the Tigers as she hit 4-8 field goals.

Rack led the Bulldogs with 15 points, but only made 6-23 field goals. Robin Porter scored 13 points and finished with eight rebounds.

"I was really pleased with how they responded, Auburn coach Nell Fortner said of her Tigers. "We can go out and look at this film and figure out better ways to score the ball against tremendous pressure that Mississippi State put on us, but when we had to have buckets we had buckets and when we had to have stops we had stops. That is what it is all about."

AUBURN 63, MISSISSIPPI STATE 58

AUBURN ((25-1, 10-1 SEC)
Bonner, DeWanna 7-18 11-12 25; Boddie, Whitney 7-11 4-4 18; Hobbs, Sherell 4-8 4-6 13; Jackson, Trevesha 2-6 1-2 5; Carrier, KeKe 1-1 0-4 2; Hilliard, Chantel 0-1 0-0 0; Hobbs, Reneisha 0-1 0-0 0; Smalley, Alli 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 20-28 63.

MISSISSIPPI STATE ((19-7, 6-5 SEC)
Rack, Alexis 6-23 1-1 15; Porter, Robin 5-14 3-4 13; Govero, Mary Kathryn 3-3 0-0 8; Grimes, Tysheka 3-5 0-0 7; Lumanu, Armelie 3-6 0-0 6; Mokango, Chanel 2-5 2-2 6; Roberts, Lauren 1-2 0-0 3; Kalonda, Rima 0-1 0-0 0; Johnson, Diamber 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-60 6-7 58.

Auburn 35 28 63
Miss. State 29 29 58

3-point goals--Auburn 1-3 (Hobbs, Sherell 1-2; Smalley, Alli 0-1), Mississippi State 6-19 (Govero, Mary Kathryn 2-2; Rack, Alexis 2-12; Roberts, Lauren 1-1; Grimes, Tysheka 1-3; Porter, Robin 0-1).

Fouled out--Auburn-None, Mississippi State-Porter, Robin.

Rebounds--Auburn 33 (Bonner, DeWanna 10), Mississippi State 39 (Lumanu, Armelie 10).

Assists--Auburn 6 (Boddie, Whitney 3), Mississippi State 15 (Rack, Alexis 6).

Total fouls--Auburn 12, Mississippi State 22.

Technical fouls--Auburn-None, Mississippi State-None.

A-2,478


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