ATHENS, Ga. – For the first time since Feb. 7, 1993, the Auburn women's basketball team will leave Athens, Ga., the victors as the Tigers (15-13, 8-7 SEC) defeated 22nd-ranked Georgia (20-8, 10-5 SEC), 63-58 Thursday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
"It was a tremendous team effort tonight, we had great focus for 40 minutes to get a huge win," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We played a very disciplined offense and had some big stops on defense. I am so proud of the team."
Senior Alli Smalley scored a game-high 22 points, including Auburn's last five points of the game. With the game tied 58-58, Smalley drove the baseline for a layup and a foul by Georgia's Khaalidah Miller. Smalley completed the old-fashioned three-point play to give Auburn the lead.
Georgia had three 3-point attempts the next time down the court, but the Tigers were able to contest each of the shots and get the ball back with six seconds remaining. After being fouled, Smalley hit a pair of free throws with five second left to seal the Auburn victory.
"Alli had a huge game tonight and really took control in the second half," said Fortner. "She is our lone senior out there and she really played like it tonight."
Smalley completed the all-around effort with game-highs of five assists and four steals. The steals were four of Auburn's 13 on the night, leading the Tigers to score 20 points off Georgia's 17 turnovers.
Behind Smalley was junior Morgan Jennings and sophomore Blanche Alverson with 10 points each. Freshman Jassany Williams scored eight points with a team-high seven rebounds.
The teams trade the lead early in the game, but the Bulldogs were able to take an eight-point advantage with 3:03 left in the first half – the largest lead by either team in the game. Auburn was able to cut it to four, 28-24, at the half.
The Tigers came out on a mission in the second half, out-scoring Georgia 39-30 while shooting 60.9 percent from the field. Twelve of Georgia's 17 turnovers came in the second half.
Miller led the Bulldogs with 20 points, followed by Porsha Phillips with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Jasmine James and Jasmine Hassell scored eight points each with Hassell added 10 boards.
Auburn shot 49.0 percent for the game, compared to 35.6 percent from Georgia. The Tigers were 2-of-7 from 3-point range while the Bulldogs were 6-of-24.
Auburn will return to action at 1 p.m., Sunday in the team's regular-season finale against No. 20 Kentucky (21-7, 10-5 SEC) on the SEC Network. The Wildcats defeated Arkansas, 55-54, Thursday night.