The Auburn women's basketball team fell to No. 11/10 Tennessee, 83-61, Thursday at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Tigers fell to 14-12 (3-10 SEC), while the Lady Vols improved to 21-5 (12-1 SEC). Tyrese Tanner led the Tigers with 20 points and four steals in the loss.
"We didn't look very controlled," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We looked panicked a little bit. I thought we got composure and came out and played better in the second half."
Unfortunately for Auburn, the damage done in the opening half would be too much for the Tigers to overcome. Tennessee jumped out to a 44-21 lead at the half on 16-of-32 shooting from the floor, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. Meighan Simmons led the Lady Vols in scoring, as 13 of her 24 points came in the first half.
"I think Meighan Simmons is a great player," Williams-Flournoy said. "When Meighan Simmons plays defense, she becomes an even better player because we already know how good she is offensively. I thought she did a really good job defensively defending the point guard."
The Tigers hit just 9-of-26 from the floor in the opening half, while the Lady Vols utilized a 19-2 run to start the game and limited Auburn to just one made field goal in the opening six minutes. The margin would be too much for the Tigers to overcome, as they never got closer than 14 points throughout the half.
Auburn was able to find the basket in the second half, shooting 44 percent from the floor and outscoring the Lady Vols 40-39, but couldn't make up enough ground to get the win.
The Tigers spent their third-consecutive game without starting point guard Najat Ouardad, who remains out with an injury. Hasina Muhammad led Auburn at the top for the second-consecutive game, finishing with six points and two assists.
"We have Hasina at the point," Williams-Flournoy said. "You have Blanche (Alverson) at the three. That's not our normal starters that we've had throughout the year consistently. Whenever there's a change, there's a disruption that happens. We'll get our starters back for Sunday."
Tyrese Tanner led the charge for Auburn with her third 20-point game of the season, posting 20 points, four steals and two blocks in the effort. Blanche Alverson added 15 points, while freshman Chadarryl Clay came off the bench to notch 10 points, including 3-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Peyton Davis and Cabriana Capers led the Tigers on the boards with five each.
Auburn returns to action Sunday as it hosts Missouri at 2 p.m. CT from Auburn Arena. The game is a Ballin' For Books event with fans encouraged to donate childrens' books to senior Blanche Alverson's community service project. Collection bins will be placed at all Auburn Arena entrances prior to the game, as well as the men's March 2 game against Vanderbilt and the women's March 3 regular-season finale against Mississippi State.