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No. 22 Auburn Beats Alabama 70-61

January 23, 2004

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) _ Le’Coe Willingham had 17 points and 17 rebounds to lead No. 22 Auburn to a 70-61 victory over Alabama Thursday night, Joe Ciampi’s 599th career win.

The Tigers (14-4, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), who had lost six of the past seven meetings, saw a 14-point lead cut to 58-56 with 4:50 left. They hit 12 of 14 free throws down the stretch to seal the win over the Crimson Tide (10-7, 2-2).

Ciampi, who improved to 599-208 overall in his 27th year, will try to become the 10th women’s coach to reach 600 wins on Sunday at Arkansas.

Louise Emeagi had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers, including three 3-pointers on five attempts. Nitasha Brown scored 10 points.

Auburn held a 50-33 advantage on the boards, collecting 20 offensive rebounds.

Monique Bivins led Alabama with 20 points, making 4-of-9 3-pointers. She was 8-of-15 shooting while the rest of the team made just 14 of 39 attempts.

Kate Mastin added 11 points and five assists.

Auburn opened up a 51-37 lead early in the second half, but the Tide responded with a 19-7 run capped by Navonda Moore’s drive to the basket. Alabama couldn’t do much after that, missing its next six shots.

The Tigers collected three straight offensive rebounds, all leading to free throw opportunities.

Willingham was 9-of-12 from the line and Auburn made 25 of 34.

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