AU Women Survive And Advance In SEC Tourney

North Little Rock, Ark.--Auburn advanced to the second round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament with junior Tia Miller leading the way with 19 points and nine rebounds as Auburn eliminated Kentucky 68-62.

Auburn, which improves to 18-10 for the season, will play top-seed Tennessee on Friday for the third time. The Lady Vols won the two previous matchups although Auburn had chances to win both contests until late in the games.

Kentucky, which ends its season at 11-16, was tied with the Tigers at intermission at 33-33 all, but Auburn jumped out to take a double figures lead in the second half and held off a late run by the Wildcats to advance to the second round.

Auburn coach Joe Ciampi said his team's defensive play and strong job on the backboards was the difference in the game.

Miller hit eight of 10 shots for the Tigers in 29 minutes of action. She was 3-4 on free throws and had eight defensive rebounds. Sophomore guard Natasha Brackett added 14 points for Auburn and forward Le'Coe Willingham scored 12 points and added five rebounds despite playing with a dislocated shoulder.

Auburn outrebounded UK by a 39-27 margin and outshot the Wildcats 48.1 percent to 45.5 percent. Auburn was 4-17 on threes and UK hit 8-21. Auburn was 12-20 at the free throw line and UK hit 4-8 free throws.

Sese Helms led the Lady Kats with 18 points and six rebounds while Sara Potts hit five treys for her 15 points

Auburn returns to action at noon on Friday against Tennessee. The game will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South.

Tennessee, 26-3 overall and 14-0 in the SEC, defeated Auburn 81-72 in Knoxville on Jan. 12th and won a rematch 59-56 on Feb. 16th in Auburn.

The Lady Vols are led by Gwen Jackson, who is averaging 16.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The 6-2 junior gets a lot of help from 5-8 senior point guard Kara Lawson, who averages 14.1 points and 4.5 assists per game.

Tennessee has won eight straight games vs. Auburn and leads the series 24-8.

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