Auburn makes its return to Neville Arena with the hopes of rebounding from their six-game SEC losing streak. The Tigers face the Ole Miss Lady Rebels on Sunday, trying to pick up a win before hitting the road again.
The Tigers are meeting the Rebels for the second time this season as they near the halfway point of their SEC schedule. The last matchup, played in Oxford, Miss. featured the home team winning handily — 74-49 in the 45th overall meeting between the two. That game was the first in conference play for Auburn.
The Tigers are coming off of a road loss to Mississippi State, losing to the Bulldogs 72-58 in a game that was won in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss is also coming off of a loss of their own, this one occurring last Sunday at home against Alabama, just its third loss of the season.
Despite a very competitive fourth quarter, the Lady Rebels were unable to overcome their lack of scoring both the second and third quarters. They were outscored 31-18 in the middle portion of the game, which allowed Alabama to take the momentum. Ole Miss was also not able to receive great production from its starters, as nearly half of its points came from the starting five.
Ole Miss is currently scoring 71.1 points per game, which ranks eighth in the conference, and right above Auburn who scores 69.9. The Lady Rebels are going to look to shoot a lot from behind the three-point arc, where nearly 29% of their total shots are attempted. They will rely on junior Snudda Collins and senior Angel Baker to utilize their strong outside percentages to their advantage. The duo accounted for all four of their three-pointers in the previous meeting between the two.
Auburn’s last game featured the Tigers getting outscored in the first and fourth quarters while winning that battle in the other two. Auburn needs to find a way to consistently score strong in all quarters in order to make this game competitive offensively. They must do this especially from the mid-range and outside, as the Lady Rebels rank fifth in the conference in blocks. They also need to find a way to capitalize at the free-throw line after shooting 45.5% from there on Thursday.
The strength of Auburn though is their ability to force turnovers and missed shots from the inside. The Tigers currently rank fifth in the conference in steals per game with 9.7. A double-digit number in steals for this game can be a huge momentum booster in this game, which is a mark that they have not reached since beginning conference play.
Auburn also ranks fourth in the conference in blocks per game with 5.5. If the Auburn defense can force the Lady Rebels to shoot contested inside shots, then it can force some extra offensive opportunities that are valuable.
With both teams looking to bounce back from a loss, and the Tigers looking for their first SEC victory on the season, this is a crucial confidence booster for both teams. This game will tip off at 4:00 p.m. CST and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
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Tyler Raley is a junior from Birmingham, Alabama, majoring in journalism.