AUBURN, Ala. — DeWanna Bonner and Auburn responded to a humbling loss with a resounding blowout of Georgia.
Bonner had 21 points and 13 rebounds in an 82-52 win over No. 10 Georgia on Sunday, nearly reversing the score from a humiliating defeat at No. 2 Tennessee three days earlier.
"I’m a really happy coach," Auburn’s Nell Fortner said. "I think this team absolutely responded to a couple of really tough days of practice. There was a tremendous challenge put in front of them: Who are we?
"We had to find out who we are. They rose to the occasion today."
The victory was the Tigers’ first over a Top 10 team in five years. Auburn (13-4, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) had five players score in double figures and held the Lady Bulldogs (14-2, 1-1) to 30 percent shooting.
It was Auburn’s first win over a Top 10 team since a 64-36 victory over No. 8 Arkansas in 2003 and the first in four years under Fortner. The win also snapped a three-game skid, including that 85-52 loss to the Lady Vols.
Fortner described her feeling after that game as "mortified" and "helpless." The Tigers’ mood was dramatically improved Sunday.
"We had to show everybody we’re a ranked team," Bonner said. "I think we went out there and played scared" against Tennessee. "It was very important to come out here and show the world we’re a better team than the way we played at Tennessee."
Bonner was effective inside and out, hitting two 3-pointers and helping limit Georgia All-American Tasha Humphrey to nine points and four rebounds.
Alli Smalley had 13 points and five assists for the Tigers, who made 20 of 23 free throws and 6 of 10 3-pointers. Auburn also got 12 points apiece from Sherell Hobbs, Trevesha Jackson and Tamela McCorvey.
Ashley Houts led Georgia with 15 points, but she also committed nine turnovers.
Humphrey picked up her fourth foul with 15:13 left and was just 2-of-8 shooting. She came in averaging 17 points and nine rebounds.
"It was our game plan to have two people on her at all times, and I think we did a great job," Bonner said.
Humphrey can attest to that. "Every time I caught the ball, there were about two or three people on me," she said. "It’s hard to score when you have that many people surrounding you."
Humphrey wasn’t the only Lady Bulldog player struggling. Georgia made just three 3-pointers and was 17-of-56 shooting.
Georgia, which was held to 25 points below its season average, was playing its first game against a ranked team and only its third on an opponent’s home court.
The Lady Bulldogs didn’t hold up well in the unfamiliar situation from the outset, trailing by as many as 16 in the first half. Humphrey’s fellow inside player, Angel Robinson, had just two points and seven rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of a size edge inside.
"It wasn’t as difficult to get it in as it was to do anything with it when we did," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "The shooting percentage inside was awful. Some passes that were thrown in there were actually good passes that didn’t get caught and other kids got turnovers on their stat sheet."
Georgia made a short-lived run by scoring six straight points early in the second half to pull to within 44-35. The Tigers then went on a 12-2 run to end the threat.
"Every time we hit shots and turned it around a little bit, it seemed like they’d get an offensive rebound or we’d come down and turn it over and they’d come down and lay it up," Landers said.
The already thin Tigers had struggled in the five games since starting guard Whitney Boddie was declared academically ineligible. Only six Auburn players played more than 4 minutes against the Lady Bulldogs.