Fortner's Tigers Win Auburn Arena Opener

Auburn, Ala.--Two old players carried the Tigers as they opened their new basketball home on Friday night.

Seniors Jordan Greenleaf and Alli Smalley scored 16 points apiece to lead the Tigers to a 79-61 victory over Mercer as the Auburn women's team played the first regular season game in the new Auburn Arena.

Greenleaf, a 6-1 forward, hit 6-9 field goals and 4-5 throws while leading all rebounders with 12.

"Being our first game, it gave us a chance to look at some of the things we need to work on," said Greenleaf, who noted the Tigers had some success playing up-tempo basketball, something they couldn't do last year due to injuries.

"I think the speed is good for us because we have a lot quickness and a lot of speed within our team," Greenleaf said. "It makes us capable of being able to push the ball and get back into transition and run the floor. I think it is good for us."

Auburn jumped to a 40-20 halftime lead holding the Bears to 24.1 percent shooting while hitting 40.5 percent from the field including five treys.

Mercer cut the lead to 10 points at 64-54 before the Tigers pulled ahead for the victory.

"It is nice to get that first game under our belt," Fortner said. "We didn't have exhibition games. We had a couple of closed door scrimmages.

"I?thought it was a typical first game," she said. "We had some really nice things that happened, but we couldn't sustain anything. I think that is typical of a first game. We are just trying to get our feel for the chemistry on the floor, which I?think is just going to get better and better."

Smalley made 6-15 field goals and added four rebounds for Fortner's Tigers, who got 11 points from sophomore forward Blanche Alverson and nine points from freshman forward Jassany Williams.

"It went pretty good," Smalley said of the season opener. "Obviously, we are always going to be happy with a win. We were a little sloppy at times. There are a lot of things we have to improve on before we play Florida State on Monday."

The Tigers outscored the Bears 9-2 on fastbreak points and held a 27-8 edge in points off of turnovers.

"We have to play faster, but with more of a purpose," Fortner said. "It wasn't exactly pretty tonight, but in the first half there were some nice things. We just kind of lost our focus coming out of halftime and they got hot. That little shooter got hot. It was kind of frustrating."

The little shooter was Briana Williams, who led the Bears with 23 points as she hit five treys.

Fortner said she thought the students created a good homecourt environment as a crowd of 2,459 watched.

Auburn out-rebounded the Bears 52-41 and turned the ball over 13 times, six fewer than Mercer.

The Tigers were 6-20 on threes and hit 17-27 free throws. Mercer made 9-23 threes and 10-17 free throws.

AUBURN 79, MERCER 61

MERCER (0-1)
WILLIAMS, Briana 7-17 4-7 23; BOYKIN, Sharnea 5-13 0-0 11; PHILLIPS, Alex 3-7 2-4 9; CHATMON, Amber 2-4 0-0 5; BLAKNEY, Keema 2-7 0-0 5; SMITH,Sharmesia 1-3 2-2 4; HAZEL, Brittnee 0-3 2-4 2; GRANT, Kendra 1-5 0-0 2;CARTER, Kourtney 0-1 0-0 0; CLANTON, Rebecca 0-2 0-0 0; BARNES, Ariel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-62 10-17 61.

AUBURN (1-0)
Greenleaf,Jordan 6-9 4-5 16; Smalley,Alli 6-15 3-4 16; Alverson,Blanche 3-10 2-2 11; Williams, Jassany 4-13 1-2 9; Jennings,Morgan 2-2 2-2 6; West,Pascale 2-3 0-0 4; Hilliard,Chantel 2-3 0-0 4; Tanner, Tyrese 1-7 1-2 4; Strain, Courtney 1-3 0-0 3; Davis, Peyton 0-1 3-4 3; Toles,Morgan 1-5 0-0 2; Simmons,Parrisha 0-1 1-6 1. Totals 28-72 17-27 79.

Mercer 20 41 61
Auburn 40 39 79

3-point goals--Mercer 9-23 (WILLIAMS, Briana 5-10; BOYKIN, Sharnea 1-4; CHATMON, Amber 1-2; BLAKNEY, Keema 1-3; PHILLIPS, Alex 1-1; CLANTON, Rebecca 0-2; GRANT, Kendra 0-1), Auburn 6-20 (Alverson,Blanche 3-9; Strain, Courtney 1-1; Tanner, Tyrese 1-4; Smalley,Alli 1-5; Greenleaf,Jordan 0-1).

Fouled out--NONE;

Rebounds--Mercer 41 (PHILLIPS, Alex 8; GRANT, Kendra 8), Auburn 52 (Greenleaf,Jordan 12).

Assists--Mercer 11 (BOYKIN, Sharnea 6), Auburn 18 (Toles,Morgan 6).

Total fouls--Mercer 17, Auburn 17.

Technical fouls--Mercer-None, Auburn-None.

A-2,459


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