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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn's shooting struggles lead to loss at No. 5 LSU

Aicha Coulibaly (5) goes up for a shot during the game
Auburn v Alabama
SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament on  Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Nashville, TN.
Todd Van Emst/SEC
Aicha Coulibaly (5) goes up for a shot during the game Auburn v Alabama SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Nashville, TN. Todd Van Emst/SEC

Without leading scorer Aicha Coulibaly for the second straight game, Auburn was unable to knock LSU from the ranks of the unbeaten, suffering an 84-54 road loss to the No. 5 Lady Tigers. The 30-point loss was Auburn’s worst to LSU in at least 32 seasons, dating back to 1991.

"Did we play perfect? No. But a lot of that was because of LSU and because of correctable errors,” said head coach Johnnie Harris. “I thought they fought. Just a few little things we need to do better to be in this ballgame."

In front of an electric crowd of 11,475 at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Auburn (10-7, 0-5 SEC) struggled offensively, much as it did in its first two road games. The Tigers shot 36.5% from the field and made just two 3-pointers, shooting 15.4% from behind the arc. 

"We did get some good looks," Harris said. "The difference was when we flipped the floor. When we flipped the floor and were patient on offense, we got better looks. I talked to them about great shots versus good shots. But we were settling for 18-, 17-, 15-footers instead of getting something better.”

The shooting struggles were not limited to the field, as they showed up at the free-throw line as well. Auburn made just six of its 16 foul shots, a clip of 37.5%. Auburn turned the ball over 14 times, leading to 20 LSU points.

It took just 22 seconds for Auburn to fall behind and LSU (18-0, 6-0 SEC) led for the final 39:31 of game time. Auburn got to within two points midway through the first quarter, but LSU ended the quarter on an 11-5 run and never looked back, outscoring Auburn 61-40 over the game’s final 30 minutes.

Injury troubles continued to plague the Tigers. Honesty Scott-Grayson competed in her second game after coming back from injury, but Coulibaly was out for her second straight game with a concussion. Coulibaly and Scott-Grayson, Auburn’s two leading scorers, have not played together in an SEC game this season, as one has been sidelined in each of the last eight contests.

"I thought our team came in here and competed, and that's what I wanted to see,” Harris said. “We can build on that. I'm still looking out on the floor and I've got three or four freshmen (at times). I wanted to see some toughness, and I did.” 

Auburn was led in scoring by starting center Precious Johnson, who scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, her second double-digit scoring game this season. Starting forward Kharyssa Richardson added 10 points. No other Auburn player reached double figures in scoring.

Scott-Grayson, in the starting lineup for the first time since December 20, scored seven points and had a team-best seven rebounds.

Auburn, off to an 0-5 start in SEC play for the fourth straight season, will have another opportunity to get its first conference win on Thursday night, when the Tigers visit Mississippi State in Starkville — Auburn’s fourth road game in six SEC contests. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. CST and will be streamed on the SEC Network+.

Matthew Wallace | Assistant Sports Editor

Matthew is a senior from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in journalism. He started with The Plainsman in fall 2021.

Twitter: @mattwallaceAU

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