AUBURN -- Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy was asked about Tyrese Tanner's performance. She turned her answer into a question of her own.
"Tyrese was awesome, wasn't she?"
The box score and the final score said "yes." Tanner had a career-high 29 points and added four steals and two blocks to help Auburn beat UAB 80-57 in a WNIT first-round game in Auburn Arena on Wednesday night.
The Tigers advanced to play the winner of Thursday's Western Kentucky-East Carolina game. Round Two will be either Sunday or Monday at a site to be determined.
Tanner shrugged off her career night.
"I don't really think about points as much as I just want to win," she said.
But the points came, anyway.
"She was just all over the floor," said Williams-Flournoy."She led us in our press. When Ty is so active on the top of the press, it's hard to pass over the top of her. Offensively, in the half court, I thought she did a really good job of attacking the basket."
Auburn improved to 17-14. UAB's season ended at 18-13.
The game was close enough at half, with Auburn leading 27-22. UAB scored the first points of the second half before the Tigers ran away with defensive pressure and a run of points.
"It was definitely a better second half than the first half, but that's really to be expected having had a week off for spring break. They still had a little sand between their toes," Williams-Flournoy said.
"I felt like the first half all of us were sloppy," said forward Blanche Alverson. "After having a talk at halftime, I think we executed pretty well."
As in 53 second-half points well.
UAB coach Audra Smith said her team couldn't catch up.
"They really rattled us," Smith said. Tanner rattled the most, especially when she found her range over UAB's smaller guards.
"She caused a lot of havoc," Smith said. "Her range is 8-10 feet. She's prolific."
Following Tanner in scoring for Auburn were Alverson and Davis, with 11 each. Chelsee Black led UAB with 15.
Auburn will now follow Thursday night's Western Kentucky-East Carolina to see what will happen next. The Tigers are hopeful.
"I think we recognize we can go far," said center Peyton Davis.
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