Auburn, AL - Coming off a disappointing season where the Auburn Tigers went 10-18, dropping eight of the last nine games, Coach Johnnie Harris looks to lead the Tigers to victory in a highly anticipated season. The Auburn women’s basketball team gave us a first look into what the upcoming year could entail by facing off against the highly rated Division II Tuskegee Golden Tigers. Despite a valiant effort from Tuskegee, Auburn was able to come out victorious 81-59 at Neville Arena.
Aicha Coulibaly led the way for the Tigers with a double-double. The junior picked up right where she left off last season, scoring second in points on the team with 16 along with a team high 12 rebounds. Coulibaly also led the Tigers in total plus-minus with a +26 in the game.
True freshman Sydney Shaw put up 13 points, team-high seven assists and four steals. Shaw saw just over 29 minutes of action, which led all freshman.
"As the game went on, I just kind of forgot about everybody else and just played," Shaw said.
Junior Romi Levy made her first appearance since her freshman year after suffering a torn ACL that kept her out the entirety of last season. The forward ended the night with four points and three rebounds.
“It was nice to see Romi back out there,” Harris said. “It’ll take her a few games to knock the rust out but she’s going to be really important.”
A struggling point for Auburn was rebounding. The issue was most exposed when it came to rebounding the ball defensively, as they allowed 24 offensive rebounds to the Golden Tigers, which accounted for 47% of Tuskegee’s total rebounds.
“I was really disappointed in our rebounding, we gave up offensive rebounds, too many,” Harris said. “We tried to prepare for that, and it was really disappointing that we let them get as many as we did.”
Auburn finished the night forcing Tuskegee into 23 total turnovers, with 15 of those being steals. The Tigers shined in the fourth quarter, ending the quarter with four steals from four different players to send Tuskegee home.
“We try to wear people out. I thought at the end they started turning the ball over, but that was a result of what we did to them in the first, second and third quarter,” Harris said. “We made some mistakes, but I thought our pressure finally wore them down.”
Auburn will open the regular season against Sam Houston State this coming Tuesday at Neville Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with coverage provided by SECN+ and WQSI 93.9 FM.