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Alverson shines as Tigers romp

AUBURN - Senior forward Blanche Alverson reached a career milestone and Auburn's women's basketball team celebrated by crushing Ole Miss 76-52 Thursday at Auburn ARena.

Blanche Alverson breaks 1,000-point barrier against Ole Miss/Anthony Hall photo

Alverson became the 27th Auburn woman to break eh 1,000-point barrier as the Tigers broke away early and were never headed in a 76-52 victory over the Rebels. Auburn improved to 13-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. Ole Miss fell to 7-9 and 0-3.

“I thought our kids came out immediately and set the tone against Ole Miss,” Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “Right away, Tyrese Tanner was very aggressive at the top of our press. She got some breakaway layups and then Blanche Alverson hit the 3 to start the game and gave us the energy we really needed to get going right away.”

Alverson led Auburn with a season-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-9 3-pointers. She also added nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“I think it just represents the career I have had here and how I have enjoyed it,” Alverson said. “I have had a great career here the past four years. It just says a lot about the experiences we have had here. I owe it all to my teammates, because without Najat (Ouardad) or other people giving me the ball, I wouldn’t have scored a point. I am blessed to say I was able to score over 1,000 points, but I owe it all to them.”

Hasina Muhammad extended her shooting streak to remain the only player in the SEC to have scored in double figures in each game this season. Muhammad has posted double digits in scoring in 18 consecutive games dating back to the final two games of the 2011-12 season. With her 22 points against the Rebels, Muhammad notched back-to-back 20-point games after a career-high 24-point performance at Missouri.

Tyrese Tanner picked up 14 points in her fifth-consecutive game in double figures in scoring, while Tra’cee Tanner added 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Najat Ouardad picked up a career-high 14 assists in the effort and is only the fourth player in Auburn women’s basketball history to ever record 14 or more assists in a single game. Ouardad ranks fifth all-time in single game assists. No Tiger had recorded 14 or more since Ruthie Bolton posted 14 in an 85-65 win over Southern California on Dec. 11, 1988. The 14 assists are also the most in a single game by any SEC player this season.

Auburn took the lead in the opening minutes of the game and never looked back. Alverson hit two treys in the opening four minutes to reach the 1,000-point plateau, while Tyrese Tanner and Muhammad each added jumpers to give Auburn a 10-3 lead at the first media timeout.

The Tigers extended their lead to as many as 24 points with less than three minutes to play in the half, but Ole Miss countered with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 18 at 45-27 at the half.

It was more of the same in the final 20 minutes, as Auburn kept a 20-point or greater lead the majority of the half. The Tigers held the Rebels to less than 30 percent shooting during the second half, while Ole Miss finished the game shooting just 19-of-59 (.322) from the floor.

Auburn continued working on its press defense and forced 20 Rebel turnovers that led to 17 points. It was the 14th time in the 16 games this season that the Tigers forced 20 or more turnovers in a game.

Ole Miss was led by Tia Faleru with 14 points and six rebounds, while Valencia McFarland added 11 points and five rebounds. Diara Moore picked up 10 points.

The Tigers return to action Sunday as they travel to College Station, Texas, to take on No. 20/21 Texas A&M. The Aggies are 12-5 (2-1 SEC) coming off a 65-62 loss on the road at No. 6 Kentucky. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. CT.

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