Entering Thursday night, both Ole Miss and Auburn remained the only teams without a win in conference play. Following the game, Ole Miss stood alone in that category, as Auburn defeated the Rebels 59-43 in Auburn Arena.
“It felt good to get that first [SEC] win,” sophomore guard Robyn Benton said.
This was led by one of Auburn’s more impressive games this season on the defensive side of the ball. While the offense did not heat up seriously until the second half, the defense stepped up, putting pressure on a struggling Rebel offense. This pressure caused Ole Miss to commit 18 turnovers, the second-most its had in an SEC game all season. This led to points for the Tigers, and head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy was complimentary on that following the game.
“I thought our defense did a good job of creating points for us,” coach Flo said. “We saw turnovers being forced against Georgia, we just didn’t convert them into points. Converting [turnovers] into points was much better.”
Ole Miss only had two points in the second quarter, which came from the Rebels’ Iyanla Kitchens with 55 seconds remaining in the half. Auburn didn’t fare much better, with only four points. The Tigers headed into the locker room with a 21-20 lead.
“We just all locked in,” Unique Thompson said is what the team did at halftime.
Auburn outscored Ole Miss 38-23 in the second half to close out the game. The Tigers also set a season-high of 55 rebounds, led by junior Unique Thompson, who finished with 13. Thompson finished with 10 points, marking her 16th double-double on the season.
Even though Ole Miss has not been known for its offense this season, to allow only 43 points gives some credit to Auburn’s defense. The defense continues to head in the right direction as SEC play continues, notably getting better as far as points allowed. After allowing 75-plus points in its first four SEC games, Auburn has now allowed 61 points and 43 points respectively in the previous two.
“The pressure and the effort,” coach Flo said were a couple things that have impressed her since the blowout losses from over a week ago. “The effort than what we’ve seen before is much better.”
The Tigers will have the weekend off before heading to Lexington on Monday to face the No. 12 ranked Kentucky Wildcats (15-3). Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network.