Defense Sparks Second Half Auburn Surge

Auburn outscored Missouri 36-18 in the second half on the way to an SEC women's basketball win.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn rallied from a 15-point deficit with excellent second half defense on the way to a 67-59 SEC women's basketball victory on Sunday over Missouri.

The visiting Tigers made just four field goals in the second half after leading 41-31 at halftime. "That's awesome," Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said after looking at the stat line that showed Mizzou made just 4-24 field goals in the final 20 minutes.

Auburn's defense sparked an 18-0 run the second half allowing the home team to take control of the contest. "We always want our defense to create our offense," Williams-Flournoy said.

"After the game in the locker room the first thing I told my young ladies, ‘Do you believe defense wins games for us?' And it was like ‘yes.' That is really what brought us back."

Auburn scored 20 points off 19 forced turnovers, the 14th time this season Williams-Flournoy's team has been able to score at least 20 on points off turnovers

The comeback was assisted by strong play from senior forward Blanche Alverson, who hit 8-14 field goals while scoring a game-high 19 points. She added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Hasina Muhammad chipped in with 13 points and plenty of good defense on Missouri's three-point shooters. The sophomore guard finished the game with four blocked shots.

Junior guard Tyrese Tanner and freshman guard Chadarryl Clay scored 11 points apiece. Clay added five assists and two steals in what was her best performance as an Auburn player.

Another freshman, forward Cabriana Capers, contributed seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal in her first collegiate start.

The game featured the return of senior point guard Jet Ouardad, who had missed the previous three games with an injury. She was able to score six points in 19 minutes off playing time off the bench.

Missouri shot 58.3 percent in the first half, but hit just 16.7 percent the rest of the way to fall to 15-13 for the season and 4-10 in the SEC.

Auburn shot 43.6 percent from the field as the Tigers improved to 15-12 overall and 4-10 in the league. Auburn was 6-13 on threes, 13-20 at the foul line and pulled in 34 rebounds, one more than the visitors.

Missouri turned the ball over 19 times, four more than the Tigers, who turned up the defensive intensity in the second half with the help of full-court pressure.

"Pressuring them just a little bit more made them a little hesitant and and got them a little tired when you have got people running at you," Williams-Flournoy said.

Alverson agreed with her coach. "When we upped the pressure a little bit, I think it just clicked in our mentality to switch over and be aggressive on the offensive end as well," she said.

Missouri was 7-11 on threes in the first half and 2-8 in the second half. "We had to make sure we ran them off the three-point line and we succeeded," Tanner said.

Eye,Morgan 6-13 0-0 18; Kulas,Bri 3-6 6-8 14; Crafton,Sydney 4-9 1-4 9; Smith,Liz 2-5 3-5 7; Doty,Lianna 1-5 4-4 6; Priede,Liene 1-5 0-1 3; Stock,Morgan 1-3 0-0 2; Simmons,Kyley 0-0 0-0 0; Hudyn,Michelle 0-2 0-0 0; Stock,Maddie 0-0 0-0 0; Saunders,Darian 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-48 14-22 59.

Blanche Alverson 8-14 1-1 19; Muhammad, Hasina 6-11 1-2 13; Tyrese Tanner 3-13 5-6 11; Chadarryl Clay 4-8 0-0 11; Cabriana Capers 2-5 3-4 7; Najat Ouardad 1-3 3-5 6; Tra'cee Tanner 0-0 0-0 0; Peyton Davis 0-1 0-2 0; Julie King 0-0 0-0 0; Cedricka Sweeting 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 13-20 67.

Missouri 41 18 59
Auburn 31 36 67

3-point goals--Missouri 9-19 (Eye,Morgan 6-11; Kulas,Bri 2-2; Priede,Liene 1-2; Stock,Morgan 0-2; Hudyn,Michelle 0-1; Crafton,Sydney 0-1), Auburn 6-13 (Chadarryl Clay 3-6; Blanche Alverson 2-3; Najat Ouardad 1-2; Tyrese Tanner 0-1; Muhammad, Hasina 0-1).
Fouled out--Missouri-Kulas,Bri, Auburn-None.
Rebounds--Missouri 33 (Crafton,Sydney 6), Auburn 34 (Blanche Alverson 7; Cabriana Capers 7).
Assists--Missouri 12 (Doty,Lianna 6), Auburn 17 (Blanche Alverson 5; Chadarryl Clay 5).
Total fouls--Missouri 17, Auburn 18.
Technical fouls--Missouri-None, Auburn-None.

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