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Williams, Thomas combine to help Vandy edge Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. -- Vanderbilt (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) refused to be intimidated
by Auburn's size and poured on the defense to defeat Auburn 57-53
on Sunday.

Caroline Williams scored 17 points and Carla Thomas added 16 to
lead Vanderbilt.

Auburn was led by Nitasha Brown's 19 points, followed by DeWanna
Bonner, scoring 14.

Auburn (12-10) led 27-24 at halftime.

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb said her players won by
making comeback plays and aggressive defense.

Vanderbilt improved to 16-7.

The Tigers lost the rhythm built up in the first half.

"We aren't going to win many games turning the ball over 23
times. We turned it over 22 times at Florida and it got worse this
afternoon," Auburn coach Nell Fortner said.

Bonner also got into foul trouble, only playing 24 minutes.

Balcomb said her players were not used to Auburn's size.

"In the first half, we were struggling because we were
intimidated and hesitant. We wanted to drive the outside shot and
we missed a lot of those so that hurt us," she said. "We were
definitely intimidated on offense on the inside."

For Balcomb, every Vanderbilt game against Auburn is close.

"Every game in my four years here, the game with Auburn has
come down to the last possession," she said.