Sunday, January 19, 2003
» Box Score
AUBURN -- A gritty and determined University of Alabama women's basketball team battled all day long but in the end the Tide came up just short falling to in-state rival Auburn, 65-61, on Sunday afternoon at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
The Tide (10-6, 0-3 SEC), who saw its five-game win streak over the rival Tigers (13-3, 1-2 SEC) come to an end, had its current losing streak extended to four games. The win snapped a two-game losing skid for Auburn.
Alabama took an early lead as Auburn failed to score for the first three minutes of play. The Tigers turned the momentum scoring the next 11 points for an 11-4 lead. UA went scoreless for a five-minute stretch during the AU run.
The Tide rallied back with eight straight points to regain the lead (12-11) but a Tiger three-pointer and nine consecutive points by AU's Natasha Brackett put Auburn back in front by a score of 23-12 with eight minutes left in the period.
Auburn maintained a near double-digit advantage for most of the rest of the period until the Tide closed used a 9-2 run over the final two minutes to finally trim the Tiger lead to just three, 34-31, at the break. Beth Vice nailed a buzzer-beating trey to conclude the Bama scoring. AU's lead was based on the strength of two players as Brackett (12 points) and Tia Miller (14 points) accounted for 26 of the Tiger's 34 first half points.
AU got things going quickly in the second half outscoring the Tide 12-4 over the first four minutes of play to extend their margin to 46-35. Alabama refused to go away as the Tide continued to chip into the AU advantage and when Katie Sipe dropped in back-to-back treys Bama was down just one, 52-51, with 7:02 eft in the game.
The game stayed tight for the remainder as both defenses turned up the intensity forcing the two squads to go without a basket for over three minutes. Manisha Redus hit a three with 1:30 remaining to put the Tide up 59-57, but Brackett drove the lane and scored and bucket and was fouled to put AU back up 60-59 at the 1:07 mark. The Tigers took a three-point lead, 62-59, on a pair of free throws by Brackett with 55 seconds left on the clock. Natasha Gamble scored a basket for Bama but UA could get no closer as Auburn made enough free throws down the stretch to earn the four-point win.
"It was a typical Alabama-Auburn game," said a disappointed UA head coach Rick Moody. 'I was very proud of the effort and heart that our team played with following Thursday night's game. Auburn is a fine team and I don't want to take anything away from them but in the end all I can ask is for things to be fair because they deserve it.'
Alabama placed four players in double figures and were led by Gamble and Sipe with 13 points each. Vice chipped in 11 and Redus finished with 10 points. Jamilah Johns continued her strong play on the glass leading the Tide with nine rebounds.
Auburn was led in scoring by Brackett with 30 points, including a 10-of-13 performance from the charity stripe. The Tigers only other double-digit performer was Miller with 15. AU held a 37-34 edge in rebounding. Auburn also held a 29-13 advantage in free throw attempts (10 to 23 edge in free throws made).
Up next for the Crimson Tide is a home tilt with the Georgia Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum. Following the UGA game, Alabama hits the road for a pair of road games at Ole Miss and #14 Mississippi State to close out the month of January.
Alabama (10-6, 0-3) 31-30--61
Auburn (13-3, 1-2) 34-31--65