Eighth-Ranked Aggies Win in Auburn

The Auburn women's basketball team couldn't pull off an upset vs. Texas A&M.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn hung with eighth-ranked Texas A&M until the Aggies made a run before halftime and the visitors were able to maintain a comfortable lead the rest of the game as they defeated Auburn 79-59 on Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

The Aggies forced 23 Auburn turnovers and turned those into 32 points, which was a major difference in the game. The visitors also shot the ball well hitting 31-58 field goals for 53.4 percent along with 7-13 threes and 10-12 free throws.

"They are definitely a great team and a great measuring stick for where we want to be down the road," said junior guard Alli Smalley, who led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points.

"This game shows us what we need to improve on," Smalley added. "We have to improve in a lot of different areas. One of the main things we have been working on is our free throws, which we did better on tonight (18-25). We also need to limit our turnovers."

Coach Nell Fortner agreed with Smalley. "Texas A&M is an excellent team and I thought they exploited us by turning our turnovers into a lot of points for them so we have a lot of work to do," Fortner said.

"It is disappointing to lose, but we are not discouraged, we have just got get better," Fortner added. "This is a game we are going to have to go back and learn a lot from."

The Tigers hit 38 percent from the field and were 3-7 on treys. Rebounding, which had been a problem earlier in the year, was improved as the Tigers held a 31-29 edge in that area.

With a crowd of 2,056 watching the action, the Tigers dropped to 2-2 for the season while Coach Gary Blair's Aggies improved to 3-0.

The game was tied at 18-18 on a basket by Morgan Toles with 8:02 left in the first half, but the Aggies outscored Auburn 18-8 to take a 10-point lead into the dressing room at halftime. The Tigers were able to cut the lead to single digits early in the second half, but by the midway point of the period the Aggies led 61-45 and continued to extend the margin.

Texas A&M was led by Danielle Adams, who came off the bench to score 22 points in 23 minutes. The former juco star is a player who had Auburn on her final list of college choices.

Keke Carrier, who continues to recover from her lower back injury, was able to play 19 minutes and contribute nine points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Tigers. Jordan Greenleaf added seven points and four rebounds and Chantel Hilliard had five rebounds to go with seven points.

"This is just my second win ever here at Auburn," Texas A&M's Blair said. "When I coached at Arkansas and came over here, I was not very successful. I respect Coach Fortner on what she is doing with her program. She is a little bit younger than we are as a team. We both graduated a whole bunch of starters from last year, but I had more coming back than she did. She has been forced to play her young people more often than I have had to.

"The little point guard (Toles) is going to be good for her," Blair added. "You start looking at Smalley a couple years ago when they played in College Station, she had one rebound in three minutes. She turned herself into an All- SEC performer. She is a great catch-and-shoot shooter. She got loose for a few points there but she didn't hit her season average. She got tired chasing around a lot of screens."

The Tigers will return to action with a 6 p.m. home game vs. Georgia State.

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