Auburn women's basketball secured their first win of 2018 and snapped a six-game losing streak after defeating Alabama 69-60 Sunday night.
“We think all wins are good, especially during such a terrible losing streak, but when that first win comes against Alabama it just makes it that much special,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said.
The Tigers started off slow, allowing Quanteria Bolton to score 10 points out the gate to put Alabama up 10-2 with 6:37 left in the first quarter. Auburn’s ability to hit the three kept the game close, while the defense tried to find their footing.
The success from three-point was not a part of the gameplan, according to Flournoy.
“It was just shooting the ball with confidence with the open shots. We didn’t take a lot of them, we took the ones that were open,” Flournoy said.
Auburn’s defense got back to usual fashion in the second quarter, when they held Alabama to 10 points and forced eight turnovers.
The Tiger defense suffocated Alabama, forcing 25 turnovers throughout the game. Auburn took advantage of the turnovers and scored 29 points off turnovers compared to only 12 points by Alabama.
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Defense wasn’t the only story, Auburn’s stellar play coming off of the bench secured the win against Alabama. The Tigers bench scored 21 points and held Alabama’s bench to only five.
Former starters Tiffany Lewis and Emari Jones scored all of the points off of the bench, and provided the spark the Tigers needed to pull out the victory.
“That’s one thing I talked to Tiffany and Emari about coming off the bench,” Flournoy said. “[Jones and Lewis] having been starters and now coming off the bench doesn’t change who you are.”
Star guard Janiah McKay led all scorers with 18 points and stressed the energy level that Auburn needed to pull out the victory.
“We knew our energy level has been up and down over the last few games,” McKay said. “We needed to be more consistent and with the help from the crowd, we really got the energy burst.”
The Tigers played well in most aspects, but dealing with pressure and turning the ball over was something Flournoy said still needed improving.
“We let Alabama’s pressure rattle us a little bit,” Flournoy said. “I called a timeout and just told them that we just have to attack the pressure and get back into attack mode.”
Auburn (11-9, 2-6) looks to keep up the positive team play when the team travels to Kentucky on Feb. 1.
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