Poor Finish Means Another Loss to Vandy

The Auburn women's basketball had a golden opportunity end its frustration vs. Vandy, but couldn't come through with the game on the line.

Auburn, Ala.--After leading most of the game, Auburn went into a shooting slump in the closing minutes allowing Vanderbilt to rally for a 61-60 SEC women's basketball victory on Thursday night.

After a basket by Alli Smalley with 7:46 to play that put Auburn up 53-49, the Tigers didn't score again until the 2:10 mark. By that time Vandy had built an eight-point advantage.

Despite going cold, Auburn still got a chance to win at the end of the game after Smalley hit a three-point shot with 45 seconds left to cut Vandy's lead to a single point.

The Commodores gave the Tigers a chance by missing a short range shot and Auburn got the ball back and called a timeout with 16.8 seconds left.

Coach Nell Fortner put 6-7 senior Keke Carrier in the game, a player who had been on the sideline since the opening minutes when she suffered a hamstring injury.

The Tigers passed the ball to Carrier down low, but instead of trying to shoot over a much smaller defender the center threw the ball toward the backcourt to no one in particular. Vandy grabbed the loose ball and the Tigers lost without getting off a shot.

Fortner said the plan was for Carrier to shoot the ball, not pass it. "She just didn't get deep enough on the block," the coach said. "She just didn't get the ball in a scoring position and time ran out on us."

Fortner said Carrier's "hamstring popped" early in the game and called it a "tough injury" adding she wasn't sure when the senior would be back in action.

The loss was the 16th straight in the series vs. Vandy, the longest losing streak in Auburn women's hoops history to any team.

Auburn was led by 19 points from Smalley, who passed the 1,000 points scored mark for her career.

The difference in the game was shooting. The Commodores made 8-18 threes while Auburn hit 3-13. Overall, Vandy shot 49.1 percent from the field while Auburn hit just 41 percent of its shots. The Tigers made 50 percent of their shots in the first half, but just 31 percent the rest of the night.

Auburn kept it close by out-rebounding the visitors 37-26. Each team turned the ball over 13 times.

Auburn dropped to 11-8 overall and 2-4 in the SEC while 20th-ranked Vandy improved to 14-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference.

Merideth Marsh led Vandy in scoring with 19 points.

VANDERBILT (61)
MARSH,Merideth 7-12 0-0 19; RHOADS,Jence 6-10 0-0 12; CLARKE,Tiffany 4-7 1-1 9; BROWN,Elan 3-10 0-0 7; LUEDERS,Lauren 2-5 0-0 6; TUOMI,Hannah 2-6 0-0 4; SMITH,Gabby 2-2 0-0 4; MOONEY,Jessica 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-53 1-1 61.

AUBURN (60)

Smalley, Alli 8-19 1-2 19; Simmons, Parrisha 3-5 3-5 9; Greenleaf, Jordan 3-10 2-2 8; Hilliard, Chantel 3-5 0-0 6; Alverson, Blanche 2-9 0-0 5; Toles, Morgan 2-5 1-2 5; Carrier, KeKe 2-2 0-0 4; Jennings, Morgan 2-6 0-0 4. Totals 25-61 7-11 60.

Vanderbilt 29 32 61
Auburn 36 24 60

3-point goals--Vanderbilt 8-18 (MARSH,Merideth 5-8; LUEDERS,Lauren 2-4; BROWN,Elan 1-6), Auburn 3-13 (Smalley, Alli 2-7; Alverson, Blanche 1-5; Greenleaf, Jordan 0-1).
Fouled out--Vanderbilt-BROWN,Elan, Auburn-None.
Rebounds--Vanderbilt 26 (BROWN,Elan 6), Auburn 37 (Simmons, Parrisha 8).
Assists--Vanderbilt 15 (RHOADS,Jence 5), Auburn 17 (Toles, Morgan 6).
Total fouls--Vanderbilt 14, Auburn 9.
Technical fouls--Vanderbilt-None, Auburn-None.
A-2,658


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