In a game where Auburn needed to find creative ways to score points, the Tigers stepped it up on the defensive side of the ball, forcing 22 turnovers on their way to a 71-61 victory over the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Volunteers.
The Tigers entered this game ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in turnovers overall, which could have proved costly against a Tennessee team which averaged over seven more points per game than the Tigers. In this game though, Auburn did not let that stat affect them.
“We wanted to be frantic on the defensive end,” said head coach Johnnie Harris.
The Auburn defense stepped up early with this idea in mind, as it forced four turnovers from steals in the first quarter alone. Many of them were forced in near the end of the quarter, which helped Auburn to end it on a 9-0 run. This got Auburn back in the game, and it ultimately proved to be one that helped to change the flow of the game.
The aggressiveness of the Tigers continued on throughout the rest of the first half, to which Auburn forced seven more turnovers in the second quarter. Many of these came off steals and travels. In total, the Tigers scored 17 points off of Tennessee turnovers in the first half.
As Auburn began the second half, it wanted to keep this same mindset. While the Tigers did not force many turnovers in the third, a turnover by Tennessee’s Rae Burrell gave the Tigers the spark they needed going into the fourth.
Freshman Mar’shaun Bostic made the difference for the Tigers late, picking up three steals which ultimately helped lead Auburn to gain all the momentum. This helped them to eventually go on a run to end the game. They scored nine points off of turnovers in the fourth.
“Mar’shaun got really tired,” Harris said. “She just plays so hard on the ball, and when she plays hard on the ball, everybody behind her plays hard.”
Ultimately, the Tigers scored 28 points off of turnovers, which proved to be helpful. Auburn will look to improve on this in the games to come.
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Tyler Raley is a junior from Birmingham, Alabama, majoring in journalism.