4:00 PM ET, December 28, 2007
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Auburn coach Nell Fortner may have found a new starting point guard.With second-leading scorer Whitney Boddie not available due to an academic suspension by Fortner, the Tigers turned to freshman Alli Smalley.Smalley delivered, scoring 15 points to help No. 15 Auburn hold off Davidson 66-59 on Friday in the Saint Joseph's Hawk Classic."You just don't lose a point guard and recover overnight," Fortner said. "She was a very valuable part of our team. I thought Alli did a great job stepping in there and we may have found ourselves a new point guard."Sherell Hobbs added 12 points and DeWanna Bonner had nine points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (12-1)."I'm happy with how we progressed with someone else playing our point spot," Fortner said. "This was our first time without her."Boddie was averaging 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists before being suspended by Fortner."It's my first time running the point and I know I can get better," Smalley said. "You can't just replace Whitney."Danielle Hemerka scored 13 points and Honna Housley added 11 for the Wildcats (6-5).With the game tied at 46 midway through the second half, the Tigers went on a 10-1 run capped by Hobbs' layup with 5:03 left to give Auburn a 56-47 lead.Auburn couldn't shake Davidson (6-5). The Wildcats answered with a 8-2 spurt to close to 58-55 on Housley's 3-pointer.The teams traded baskets before Jordan Greenleaf's jumper as the shot clock expired gave Auburn a 62-57 lead with 1:02 left.Two free throws by Mercedes Robinson cut the deficit back to three, but Davidson could get no closer as Auburn hit its free throws down the stretch. The Wildcats were bidding for their first-ever victory over a ranked opponent."We've come close this year," Davidson coach Annette Watts said. "Our four losses are to big teams. We were ready to take one down and that's how you turn a program around. That's our goal and we're still working at it."Auburn, which last played on Dec. 19, routing Sam Houston State 80-36, will face Saint Joseph's in the championship game on Saturday.The Hawks beat New Jersey Institute of Technology 68-59 in the other semifinal. The Hawks had a 26-point lead with just under 10 minutes left in the game before NJIT rallied to cut it to nine, but the Highlanders could get no closer.Auburn's schedule doesn't get easier after the New Year, facing three straight ranked opponents -- George Washington, Tennessee and Georgia. After visiting Kentucky, the Tigers will host LSU.Auburn was off to a good start before Boddie was suspended."Coming into this point and time I thought we were in great shape," Fortner said. "We have to reinvent ourselves with what we have playing at the point. I feel good about it. We have a tough schedule. There are no easy games in conference."Davidson held a 32-30 halftime lead after shooting 47 percent in the first half (15-for-32). The Wildcats had built a 28-20 advantage with 5:28 left before the break, but Auburn used a 10-2 run to tie the game at 30 on Smalley's layup. Smalley scored five points during the spurt.
|FG Made-Attempted||25-63 (.397)||27-65 (.415)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-17 (.294)||2-11 (.182)|
|FT Made-Attempted||4-9 (.444)||10-17 (.588)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||11 (0/0)|