Fortner's Tigers Hold On For Third Victory

Four Auburn players scored in double figures as the Tigers took a homecourt women's basketball victory over Georgia Southern.

Auburn, Ala.--After jumping out to a big early lead the Auburn women's basketball team saw its 17-point advantage cut to two points late in the second half before the Tigers regained their composure to take a 62-56 women's basketball victory over Georgia Southern on Tuesday night.

Auburn coach Nell Fortner was not pleased with what she witnessed and closed the locker room door for a lengthy time for her team to reflect on what transpired at Beard-Eaves Coliseum earlier that evening.

"When you have got a young team that happens," Fortner said. "You look out on the floor and you have four freshmen out there. You try to give kids an opportunity to play and it is not always going to be pretty. We will keep at it and just to keep getting experience and grow up."

Auburn led 36-21 at halftime and stretched its lead to 17 points at the 18:02 mark on a layup by freshman point guard Morgan Toles. From that point until the 5:16 mark, the visitors outscored Auburn 29-14 to cut the lead to 56-54.

"It was a tough one but we pulled it out," says Toles. "We didn't come out (for the second half) as focused as we planned to. We were up by a lot at the half and we let them come back. We have got to finish our games better."

Toles scored eight points, added five assists, four rebounds and two steals, but also turned the ball over three times. As a team the Tigers turned the ball over 22 times, a statistic that helps explain why the Eagles were able to make a comeback.

Toles missed the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities twice in the final minute of the game, something the Tigers were able to overcome with her teammates coming up with the rebounds. "We are in the gym every day and coach stresses hitting free throws in the clutch," Toles says. "We need those. I didn't come through so I am actually going to shoot tomorrow morning to work on those."

Auburn's lone senior, center Keke Carrier, led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points. She hit 8-10 field goals in 19 minutes.

The Tigers got 14 points from freshman guard Nicolle Thomas, 13 from freshman forward Blanche Alverson and 10 from junior guard Alli Smalley.

Alverson scored her points on just six field goals. She made 4-5 threes as the Tigers hit 8-14 treys as a team. "She shot the ball really well," Fortner said. "We need that."

Georgia Southern made just 3-18 threes and hit 41.8 percent from the field while Auburn made 52.1 percent of its shots.

The Tigers have struggled at the foul line much of the season as they have posted a 3-2 record. Tuesday night was more of the same as they made just 4-12 chances at the three throw line while Georgia Southern, which fell to 1-2 this season, made 7-13.

Auburn returns to action with a road game on Friday vs. Florida State.

J'Lisia 5-8 1-1 11; DAYTON, Kayla 4-6 0-0 9; NAVARRO, Jamie 2-7 3-3 7; TATE, Krista 2-4 1-2 6; WHITNEY, Carolyn 2-8 2-2 6; GEIGER, Jessica 2-5 0-3 5; FRYE, Meredyth 2-6 0-0 4; IVY, Candice 2-4 0-0 4; SCOTT, Briana 1-1 0-0 2; WILSON, Janay 1-1 0-2 2; WILLIAMS, Samantha 0-4 0-0 0; YOUNGBLOOD, Logan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 7-13 56.

Carrier, KeKe 8-10 1-3 17; Thomas, Nicolle 6-13 0-0 14; Alverson, Blanche 4-6 1-2 13; Smalley, Alli 3-7 2-4 10; Toles, Morgan 4-8 0-3 8; Hilliard, Chantel 0-1 0-0 0; Greenleaf, Jordan 0-2 0-0 0; West, Pascale 0-0 0-0 0; Simmons, Parrisha 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-48 4-12 62.

Georgia Southern 21 35 56
Auburn 36 26 62

3-point goals--Georgia Southern 3-18 (DAYTON, Kayla 1-2; GEIGER, Jessica 1-1; TATE, Krista 1-1; FRYE, Meredyth 0-1; WILLIAMS, Samantha 0-3; WHITNEY, Carolyn 0-5; NAVARRO, Jamie 0-4; OGBURN, J'Lisia 0-1). Auburn 8-14 (Alverson, Blanche 4-5; Thomas, Nicolle 2-5; Smalley, Alli 2-4).
Fouled out--Georgia Southern-None, Auburn-None.
Rebounds--Georgia Southern 31 (GEIGER, Jessica 5), Auburn 35 (Greenleaf, Jordan 6).
Assists--Georgia Southern 14 (DAYTON, Kayla 3; GEIGER, Jessica 3), Auburn 13 (Toles, Morgan 5).
Total fouls--Georgia Southern 18, Auburn 17.
Technical fouls--Georgia Southern-None, Auburn-None.


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