After COVID-19 issues forced Auburn to postpone Tuesday's contest, Auburn women’s basketball returned to the court Sunday.
A shorthanded Auburn mounted a comeback with only 10 active players and defeated South Alabama 74-66 in Auburn Arena for the Tigers' fourth win this season.
“We definitely had to stay composed,” said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. “We had so many people playing different positions. We ended up having to play our walk-ons, who have been practicing extremely hard. When you drop down to only seven (scholarship) players, everybody’s got to step up, and everybody’s got to be ready to play. And everybody’s got to do something, whether it’s making a shot, getting a defensive rebound, getting a stop – you have to be able to do something to help contribute to a win.”
South Alabama jumped out to an early lead knocking down several 3-point shots. The Jaguars opened the game 6-of-7 from 3-point range and quickly found themselves holding a 12-2 lead.
Auburn had one made field goal in the first five minutes of the game before its pressing defense created opportunities for the offense by forcing turnovers.
Auburn forced eight turnovers in the final five minutes of the first quarter and created momentum with these turnovers. The Tigers concluded the quarter on a 10-5 run that cut into the 17-12 South Alabama lead.
The Jaguars answered to start the second quarter limiting Auburn’s offense and scoring points on their end. A pair of South Alabama 3-pointers extended the Jaguar lead to 12, the largest of the night.
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Not to be outdone, Auburn connected on five straight 3-pointers to end the half. Annie Hughes, Honesty Scott-Grayson, Sania Wells and Jala Jordan all made 3-pointers during that stretch.
Hughes and Wells both finished the day with career-highs in made 3-pointers with three makes each.
Even with Auburn's hot shooting to end the second quarter, South Alabama led 34-28 at halftime.
Auburn's highest-scoring quarter was the third, where Auburn put up 25 points and continued to chip away into the South Alabama lead. The Tigers cut the deficit down to five, then three, then one before retaking the lead for the first time since it was 2-0.
Once they grabbed a 47-46 lead off a Romi Levy free throw with 2:39 left in the third, Auburn never trailed again.
“In the first half … we were second-guessing our shots,” Williams-Flournoy said. “So we told them at halftime, ‘Just catch and shoot the basketball.’ They were not guarding us, and when you second-guess your shots, you’re always going to miss.”
Unique Thompson had her fourth double-double of the season and career double-double No. 46 in Sunday's win. She finished the evening with 21 points and 14 rebounds, both team-highs.
The Tigers will play back-to-back days beginning on Wednesday against Stephen F. Austin and on Thursday against North Florida. Both games tipoff at 6 p.m. CST.
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