The Tigers (12–16, 4–11) hit the ground running, trapping the Crimson Tide (12–17, 2–13) in a 14–0 run to start the game.
As the Tigers’ points rose, the team continued to stay focused.
“That’s what our coaches preach all the time,” said junior guard and forward Blanche Alverson. “We gotta have two, 20-minute halves. We’ve struggled with that in the past … I think it was very important for us just to keep the pedal down and keep pushing hard for our confidence as well.”
Sophomore forward Tyrese Tanner led the Tigers with 23 points, breaking her previous career-high of 22 against Arkansas.
Tanner also led the team with 20 points at the Jan. 5 matchup in Tuscaloosa.
“Every Alabama game we play," Alverson said, "she steps up to the plate.”
All of Alverson's 15 points came from behind the arc, as she went 5–8 from the three-point line.
“Our chemistry was just tight,” Tanner said. “Everybody was on the same page.”
Coach Nell Fortner praised her team for the quick start, also mentioning the strong defense in pumping out so many turnovers, of which the Tigers average 18.5 per game.
“I thought that was just really effective in the first half,” Fortner said. “I thought that really got the ball game tilted our way …Nineteen turnovers for them in the first half. We turned the turnovers into points too.”
Fortner stressed the victory was the result of offense and defense playing hand-in-hand.
“(At) LSU we forced 24 turnovers, but didn’t turn them into points, so that was important for us tonight," she said.
With a 47–23 lead at halftime, the Tigers didn't stop pushing.
“It’s not like we got sloppy,” Fortner said. “And that was the other good thing about it … and that can happen when you get some separation in the score like that. These kids really stayed focused and were playing for something more than just today.”
Fortner is 12–3 against Alabama, with Thursday's meeting the eighth between her and Tide coach Wendell Hudsom.
The game was especially significant considering Fortner’s recent announcement of her resignation, and Alverson said the team was glad to have their coach end on this note with their rivals.
“With the events this week, we just wanted to go out and win this one for coach Fortner because she’s so passionate about Auburn," Alverson said.
“It’s a nice way to end my coaching here," Fortner said, "playing Alabama and going out with that one. Because, you know, when you’re an Auburn coach, playing Alabama … that’s a big game.”
The Tigers have their last game of the regular season Sunday against Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m. at the Auburn Arena.
Fortner has high expectations for the Tigers.
“Let’s hope we can do it again on Sunday … and go see what we can do in that tournament,” Fortner said.