AUBURN – In the glittering history of Auburn’s women’s basketball, no player ever had a better Senior Day than Blanche Alverson had Sunday.
Blanche Alverson scored 32 points in her final regular-season game/Anthony Hall photo
Not Carolyn Jones.
Not Vicki Orr.
Not Dewanna Bonner.
Alverson scored 32 points, hitting 12-of-16 from the field and 5-of-9 from 3-point range. She had three rebounds, three steals and blocked a shot. She was the driving force as Auburn beat Mississippi State 74-65 at Auburn Arena.
It was the final regular-season game for Alverson, Nojat Ouardad, Julie King and Pascale West, but Alverson stole the show.
“Her performance was awesome,” first-year coach Terri Williams Flournoy said. “What a great senior night to have for Blanche. Anytime we needed a basket and anytime we needed to stop the run, she was right there. I thought our young ladies did a very great job of knowing that she was hot and tried to find her.”
With 8:48 remaining in the first half, Alverson hit her 200th career 3-pointer. She joins Alli Smalley as just the second player in Auburn women’s basketball history and the 33rd player in SEC history to hit 200 career 3-pointers.
“I think it’s kind of cool because Alli and I are such great friends and had a great relationship when we played together here,” Alverson said. “We always played so well. We still keep in touch. It’s cool that we’re such good friends and we’re one and two in the books. She’s not bad company to be with.”
Auburn finished the regular season at 16-13 overall and 5-11 in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers will be the No. 11 seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament and will play No. 5 seed LSU in Duluth, Ga., Thursday. The Tigers had to beat Mississippi State, an upset winner over Georgia last Thursday, to avoid playing on the first day of the tournament.
“I’m a very honest coach, and I made sure that they knew that this was a must win game,” Williams-Flournoy said. I told them we never want to be in that situation again. I thought they really handled it and went out and played extremely well, especially in the first half under so much pressure.”
Auburn raced to a 40-24 halftime lead, but Mississippi State rallied to get within 48-45 in the second half. The Tigers responded by going on an 8-0 run to go up 56-45. Mississippi State did not mount another serious threat.
Tyrese Tanner scored 19 points for Auburn. Ouardad scored 9 points and had 8 assists.