DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Courtney Walker sank her first seven shots and scored 25 points, leading No. 15 Texas A&M to a runaway 86-54 win over Auburn on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Each of the top four seeds advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Texas A&M will play No. 6 Tennessee. Fifth-ranked South Carolina, the top seed, will play No. 12 Kentucky in the first semifinal.
“The whole nation is going to be able to see the top four teams play and all of us are in the top 15,” said Texas A&M coach Gary Blair. “I think it’s going to be great for SEC basketball.”
Tennessee won 76-55 at Texas A&M on Jan. 26.
“Playing Tennessee, it’s a great platform because it’s a team with so much history,” said Aggies guard Jordan Jones, who had 11 assists, six points and three steals.
“For us to be able to step on the floor with them tomorrow speaks great volumes to this program as well. I feel if we keep this momentum, keep on doing what we’re doing, it should be a better game than it was out in College Station.”
Karla Gilbert had 15 points and Courtney Williams added 12 for the Aggies (24-7), the defending SEC tournament champion.
Tyrese Tanner led Auburn (17-14) with 14 points. Brandy Montgomery had 12.
Auburn opened with a full-court press that the Aggies usually defeated, setting up fast-break points and open jump shots. Texas A&M had 15 turnovers but made 31 of 53 shots (58.5 percent).
“That’s about as good as we can play in transition basketball,” Blair said. “I was proud of our guard play. We turned it over 27 times against them at their place against that same press. I think we worked on it because they embarrassed us at their place.”
The Aggies raced to a quick 11-2 lead. Auburn never led and coach Terri Williams-Flournoy was forced to use her first timeout about 2 minutes into the game.
“We didn’t start the game like we wanted to start the game and just didn’t play well tonight,” Williams-Flournoy said.
Texas A&M already held a comfortable 45-30 lead early in the second half before turning the game into a rout. The Aggies’ 18-0 run pushed the lead to 63-30. Walker had six points in the run and then sat out the final 10 minutes, leaving her one point shy of matching her career high of 26 points.