Daisa Alexander and Auburn’s defense led the women’s basketball team to a 66-56 win over Alabama on Thursday night.
The first matchup of the season between the rivals was one Auburn knew was going to be a close race to get the win.
“In a game like this, the X and Os go out the door,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “It comes down to who want it more and who’s going to fight the hardest for it.”
Auburn’s defense was in usual fashion, forcing 25 turnovers that turned into 28 points. Alexander had four steals on the night. Nine of the 10 Auburn players who took the court had at least one steal. Freshman Erin Howard contributed three steals to the Auburn effort.
After ending the first period with only a 4-point lead, the defense turned things around and held Alabama to only three points in the first four minutes of the second period.
Offensively, Auburn had one of its best nights. They shot 55.8 percent from the floor, which is their second-best shooting night of the season.
Alexander led the team, scoring 22 points for the second straight game. Unique Thompson added 12 and had a game-high nine rebounds. Crystal Primm contributed 10 points to the Tigers’ win.
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Howard had a team-best five assists, and Erica Sanders added six points, scoring on all three shots she took during the game. Janiah McKay had five rebounds, eight points, three assists and two steals for the night.
The team did struggle with turnovers in the third quarter, turning the ball over seven times. Alabama was able to take advantage of those miscues and cut the Auburn lead down to five points.
After a pair of fast-break baskets off steals by Alexander and Primm, Auburn took the lead back up to double digits at 57- 46 in the fourth.
In the last five minutes of the game, Auburn had only one possession where it did not score.
“We had to go through their little storm then come back and get ready to play,” Williams-Flournoy said.
Thursday‘s win was Auburn’s ninth over Alabama in their last 12 meetings. This was also the Tigers’ sixth road win this season.
“We’ll take that ugly win,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We had to scrap and fight and grind to get it. We told the team that this would be a game of runs.”
The Tigers return to Auburn Arena on Monday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. CT to host No. 7 Mississippi State.
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