Auburn women’s basketball outlasted a late scoring surge by Samford and held on for a 66-64 win over the Bulldogs Saturday inside Auburn Arena.
“It was definitely a struggle down at the end,” said head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. “Just a lack of communication defensively. You can’t give up those kinds of 3s at the end of the game. And we missed a lot of shots, a lot of wide open shots.
For a team that consists of six transfers, four freshmen and five returning players, the Tigers have been clicking to start the season. Auburn is 2-0 for the first time since 2018 and are looking like a traditional defensive team from Williams-Flournoy.
The Tigers forced 21 turnovers on Saturday, the second straight game in which they’ve forced 20 or more turnovers. Auburn's defense led to offense, and they scored a third of their points off turnovers.
Unique Thompson led the way with a team-leading 16 points and 11 rebounds, her first double-double of the 2020 season. The senior became Auburn’s all-time leader in double-doubles last season, continuing to build on that record with her 43rd career double-double.
After falling behind 3-0 to start the game, Honesty Scott-Grayson and Kira Lowery both hit 3-pointers to give Auburn a 6-3 lead. The Tigers never gave up that lead and held the advantage the rest of the way.
Coach Flo’s squad was able to close out quarters on strong scoring runs. They ended the first quarter on an 11-4 run and the second quarter on a 12-2 run to take a commanding 38-26 lead into halftime.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Auburn opened the second half with a pair of Lowery jump shots to take its largest lead of the night at 42-26. It looked as if the Tigers might pull away from the visiting Bulldogs in the second half.
Despite the 16-point deficit in the third quarter, the Bulldogs slowly cut into the lead. The charge was led by junior Katie Allen, who scored 20 of her 21 points in the second half.
The Tigers saw their lead go from 16 in the third quarter to a one-possession game with 3:50 remaining in the fourth.
“It’s just trying to find the right combinations right now," Williams-Flournoy said. "Some of our better offensive players aren’t great defensive players, but you need them on the offensive end. So it’s something we’ve got to work at, you’ve got to be able to play both ends of the court.”
Transfer Jala Jordan was able to push Auburn's lead back to two-possessions a couple of times within the final 2:30, making a layup and a 3-point shot. She finished the evening with eight points and four rebounds.
Yet Samford’s Allen did not back down, knocking down three 3-point shots in the final 1:19 of the game. The biggest 3-point shot came with seven seconds left, as she hit from beyond the arc to bring the deficit within one point.
Auburn inbounded the ball to Lowery, who was fouled, sending her to the free-throw line. The transfer from Dyersburg State Community College made one-of-two free throws to give Auburn a two-point lead with five seconds left.
The Bulldogs were able to get down the court and attempted a potential game-winning 3-pointer, but it missed.
The Tigers are back in Auburn Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to take on Gardner-Webb at 6 p.m. CST.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman