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Monday, Dec 11, 2023 | Latest Print Edition

No sting from the Hornets: Tigers take down Alabama State

Romi Levy (#11) on the defense in a match against Georgia Tech at Neville Arena on November 16th, 2022
Romi Levy (#11) on the defense in a match against Georgia Tech at Neville Arena on November 16th, 2022

Taking on in-state neighbors Alabama State, Auburn took down the Hornets 88-49 on Sunday night. After coming off a close loss to Georgia Tech last week, the Tigers were looking for a rebound. 

Romi Levy made a solid effort, earning her first career double-double on 16 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in just over 20 minutes of play. The junior forward returned for her second game in 2022 after missing last season due to an ACL surgery and despite still wearing her brace, she has started her return well. 

“Man, I just wanted to get out there and preform for my teammates," Levy said. "I definitely feel the love today…So I’m just happy to be back, happy to help my teammates and be a part of this program."

Auburn made only 46% of its free throws in the first quarter but improved to make 100% of them in the second quarter. The team did only have one free throw in the second quarter, however, when a foul was committed against junior Aicha Coulibaly.  

“I feel like last game I didn’t really attack a lot. I just came in ready this time, you know to attack them and like throw the first punch,” said Coulibaly. 

Coulibaly led the Auburn scoring and minutes played with 21 points in 26 minutes. Senior Sania Wells also added 10 points to the Tigers' total and all 13 players who participated were able to score during their time on the court. 

The team's eight three-point shots were double what they had set as their previous season-high, in addition to converting 26 Hornet turnovers into 27 points. 

The Tigers started off strong not getting their first foul until they had just under five minutes in the first quarter. Auburn outscored Alabama State by 11 points during that period, a settling-in time where it seemed players were missing their first extra shot but then making the second. 

Auburn was able to shoot 50.7% throughout the game, good for their best of the season. Almost half of that production came off the bench, who were challenged by their coach in the game to pick up slack where she felt the starters were underperforming. 

“I told our starters, I’m not going to wait around for you to play hard,” said head coach Johnnie Harris. “I went to the bench and found some people who wanted to play. I challenged them after the last ballgame that I needed more. Sania gave me more, Romi came in, and we all know Romi can score, but what I absolutely love is Romi battling and getting on the boards. That’s what we need.”

On the opposite end, the Tigers three-point percentage dropped from the first quarter to the second. In the first quarter they made 40% of their free throws, compared to the second where they only made 25%. 

Alabama State started out the second half strong going on a 5-0 run which was quickly broken when Kharyssa Richardson scored a layup. The Hornets' 26 turnovers were also double the number of Auburm, who had just 13. The Tigers were able to out-rebound Alabama State 43-32. 

The Tigers has 19 points off fast breaks, so they were scoring well in transition. Getting through the first period with a 22-11 lead, the second quarter seemed to be where the team was finding their groove. 

“I feel like we settled in half way through the first quarter even though we were nip nip and tuck with them,” Harris said. 

Harris emphasized the fact that her secondary were the ones who played the style of basketball she wanted to see today. Once they were in with a quick change, the energy on the team became different. 

“This team supports each other," Harris said. "When that group came off, and that second group went in they has the energy on the bench that the first group usually have so it gave them the confidence they needed."

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Up next, the Tigers will travel to Las Vegas to take on their next two opponents: Indiana and Colorado State. The first game, against Indiana, will be on Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:45 p.m. CST. 

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