The Auburn women'sbasketball team clawed back from 17 points down and rallied to top Alabama,70-65, in double overtime on Thursday night at Auburn Arena.
After Alabama's Daisha Simmons' layup gaveAlabama lead with under a minute to play in second extra frame, Hasina Muhammadstepped up in the clutch, hitting a fade-away jumper on the right wing to putAuburn in the lead for good with 0:33 left in double OT.
Brandy Montgomery, who tied the game at 62-62in the second OT with 3:14 left with a three, sealed the game with fourstraight makes at the free-throw line as the Tigers came up with a pair ofdefense stops to hold the Crimson Tide off. Tyrese Tanner led the way, scoringa game-high 26 points and posting 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double ofthe year.
"Thatwas just incredible," said head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "I'm so proud ofthe perseverance and fight, to keep coming back. We tried to tell them to calmdown and make stops, we had to make some stops. It's always going to be defensethat helps us win, but tonight it was our execution against the zone. We gotgood shots against the zone and that helped a lot. Alabama played a great game.They came out ready to play, like they had something to prove."
Auburn jumped out to an earlylead in the first, but the Crimson Tide used a 22-8 run heading into the breakto jump ahead of the Tigers. The Tigers shot just 28.6 percent from the fieldin the first half as Alabama's 2-3 zone disrupted Auburn's offensive attack.
Theseason is too big and the games are too big to come out flat, and that was thespeech at halftime," Williams-Flournoy said. "You have to give (the team)credit where credit is due because they fought back. The one thing you have toremember about this team is they fight back. They go down swinging and whenthey've done that they have usually caught back up."
The Tigers began to feedTanner as the senior scored 17 of her 26 points in the comeback effort duringthe second half. The senior knocked down a series of jumpers and lay-ins tolead the furious effort. After Montgomery nailed a trey, Auburn climbed back totie the game at 47-47 with 2:16 left in regulation as Tanner hit a jumper fromthe free-throw line.
Tanner put the Tigers aheadfor a short time on a lay-up off the glass put Auburn up 51-50 with 0:51 toplay, but Simmons knocked down 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to send the gameto overtime.
In the first extra frame,neither team could pull away as the game stayed within one possession. With Alabamaleading by four with under two minutes to go, Tra'Cee Tanner powered awaythrough the paint to cut the deficit down two points. After a stop on thedefensive end, Muhammad sank her first of two big shots on the night with an8-foot jumper to tie the game at 57-57 to force a second OT.
After both Tanner sistersfouled out early in the second overtime, the Tigers turned to Muhammad andMontgomery on the offensive end. Down 62-59 with 3:14 to go, Montgomery drilledher third three to tie the game at 62-62. Down the stretch, the lead changedfour times in the final 1:33. Meagan Tucker gave the Tigers a lead at 64-63with at the 1:09 mark, but Simmons drove inside again to put Alabama back ontop.
Trailing by one, Muhammadwent to work again on the offensive end, weaving around Alabama defenders todrain a jumper to put Auburn ahead. The Crimson Tide did not have an answer asPeyton Davis brought down a rebound and Montgomery hit four from the charitystripe to put the game away in Auburn's first OT contest this year.
Simmons finished with 18points, while Ashley Williams led the way for Alabama with 18 points. Muhammadscored six points for Auburn, all coming in the game's final 12 minutes, whileTra'cee Tanner chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
Auburn wraps up SEC play on Sunday at Ole Missin Oxford, Miss. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. between the Rebels and Tigers.
Alabamacloses out the regular season at home against No. 23 LSU on Sunday, March 2.Game time is slated for 1 p.m. CT and will air live on SEC TV.
INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama and Auburn Athletics Departments