Following an 11-18 season, Auburn women’s basketball will have some major work to do, not just with the struggles on the court, but now the team has seen seven different players leave the program.
Its second-leading scorer, Daisa Alexander, graduated, while the third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-leading scorers all have entered the transfer portal.
Abby Jackson and Maliya Perry both transferred midseason while sophomore Robyn Benton (10.1 points per game), sophomore Brooke Moore (8.6 points per game), freshman Lauren Hansen (7.9 points per game), sophomore Erin Howard (7.6 points per game) and seldom-used sophomore Natalie Kelly have all left over the past several days.
Following the loss to Arkansas in the SEC tournament, head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy put an emphasis on going back to being a strong defensive team next season.
“My mindset is to be a pressing team,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Now the players, I really thought this year they took too long to buy into who we are and what we do. That means we either got to make some changes, we got to go out and recruit. We have to recruit the kids that fit our style. We went out and got the so-called scorers. Had a top ranking class last year that hasn't panned out the way we need them to.
“At the end of the day I just got to be who I am, coach who I am. That's a pressing team. We've always been a pressing team. Causes havoc. Nobody wants to play us. We score off of our turnovers. We have to go back to being the team that we are.”
With the losses, Auburn now has just seven players on the roster in Unique Thompson, Annie Hughes, Kiyae’ White, Sania Wells, Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu, Jala Jordan and Honesty Scott-Grayson.
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Both Jordan and Scott-Grayson didn’t record any playing time during the 2019-20 season.
Hughes and White spent time in the starting lineup, but Thompson is the only starter returning who started every game. The junior had 22 double-doubles last season, but will likely have to play an even larger role her senior season with the losses.
Auburn’s 11 wins marked the lowest win total since the 1978-79 team.
On a teleconference, athletic director Allen Greene talked about where the program is going last week.
“You know, I don’t think anybody expected us to have the type of season we did this year coming off of NCAA (Tournament) appearances and coming off one of the best records last season," Greene said.
In the previous season, Auburn finished 22-10 (9-7 SEC) along with an appearance in the NCAA tournament where it lost to BYU in the first round.
That team received big contributions from Crystal Primm, who was expected to be a big part of this year’s team until she transferred in the preseason to Florida Atlantic.
“That is a good question," Greene said when asked about the future of the program. "Coach Flo and I have had some conversations as we went down towards the end of the season. Our primary focus has been on dealing with this (coronavirus) crisis, so I don’t have a ton of information.”
While the coronavirus has shut down recruiting, Williams-Flournoy and her staff will have to focus on adding players to the roster to make up for the big losses.
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