She is to Auburn women’s basketball what Charles Barkley was to men’s, perhaps the leading alum of all times.

On Sunday, Auburn retired the No. 24 jersey of DeWanna Bonner.

She had been a phenom for the Auburn Lady Tigers from 2006 to 2009. On Sunday, she made only her second trip home to Auburn since graduating, and it was a big one. The Lady Tigers hosted the cross-state rival Crimson Tide, but before the game, there was a ceremony honoring Bonner.

A proclamation of the City of Auburn named Sunday, January 21, “Dewanna Bonner Day.”

Bonner was a two-time All-American and 2009 SEC Player of the Year at Auburn.

In attendance at the ceremony were some of Bonner’s WNBA teammates, teammates from her years at Auburn, members of the current Auburn women’s basketball team led by head coach Johnnie Harris and others.

During her four seasons with the Lady Tigers, Bonner was a three-time All-SEC First Team selection from 2007-2009. She finished the 2009 season with 716 points, the most in a single season in Auburn history.

It was good timing for Sunday’s Bonner ceremony. The current Lady Tigers just came off their biggest win of the season and one of the biggest in Auburn history. They played defending national champions No. 7 LSU and defeated the Bengal Tigers 67-62. The 7,720 fans in attendance for that January 14 game was the second-largest home crowd ever for Auburn women’s basketball. Ironically, the largest had come in 2009 when the Bonner-led Tigers took on Tennessee and legendary coach Pat Summit. There were 12,000 in attendance in Auburn that day.

Bonner made a weekend of it back home in Auburn. On Friday, she received the proclamation of "DeWanna Bonner Day" from Auburn Mayor Ron Anders and a large host of friends and former teammates, both from Auburn of yesteryear and from her WNBA career.

On Saturday, Bonner went to the practice of the current Auburn team and assisted with preparation for the game Sunday against archrival Alabama.

After she graduated with a Psychology degree from Auburn in 2009, Bonner was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury and played there for 10 seasons. She made an immediate impact in Phoenix, as they won the WNBA championship in 2009, her first year. They won it again in 2014.

She was traded to the Connecticut Sun and has played there for the past four seasons.

Bonner has been an All-WNBA selection twice. After 14 seasons, Bonner ranks sixth among WNBA career scorers with 6,881 career points.

Bonner is from Fairfield and starred for the Fairfield High women’s team, becoming a highly recruited player in 2004. She is 6’ 4”.

Bonner reacted to the honor, saying, “This was home for me. This is where I grew up. This is where I left my mom and became a young lady.”

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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