Auburn kicked off the New Year with a Tiger battle. Dawning their white uniforms, Auburn played host to Missouri while in search of their first conference win after falling to defeat Ole Miss in the opening game of SEC play. The game was a struggle all around for Auburn as they would ultimately remain winless in SEC play, losing by a score of 62-56 at Neville Arena.
“It was the little things that got us beat today,” Auburn coach Johnnie Harris said. “Our team came back and played harder, they played tougher. We just made mistakes. We still missed shots that we have to make. That’s part of toughness.”
The biggest story of the night would be the absence of star player Honesty Scott-Grayson for Auburn for the second straight game due to injuries. The guard has had a standout year, ranking second in scoring while contributing at key moments throughout the season.
“I am really missing her, not only her shooting, just her presence on the floor,” Harris said. “She can calm things down, she can create. She does a lot for us as well as scoring. We’re going to make sure she’s healthy and she comes back ready to go.”
Leading scorer Aicha Coulibaly had all eyes on her with Scott-Grayson’s absence. The senior got off to a slow start early on, only shooting 1-6 from the field with two points to show at the end of the first half. However, the second half was a different story. The guard would score 18 points to finish with a team-high 20 points.
Despite a terrific second half showing, Coulibaly would be unable to lead Auburn to victory as they would finish the game without scoring in five of the final six minutes, while committing four turnovers in that span. During the same time, Missouri was able to capture a 10 point lead off the back of a 6-0 run within thirty seconds.
After playing a pivotal role throughout the season, Sydney Shaw would be unable to find the bottom of the net. The freshman would go 0-6 while only providing two assists in 26 minutes of action.
Shaw would not be the only player not to be able to score from the field. It was a constant struggle throughout the night that would spread to other members of the team. Fellow starter Kharyssa Richardson finished the night with two points, which both cam curtsey of her only trip to the free throw line after shooting 0-4 from the field.. Mya Pratcher would follow in the footsteps of Richardson, going 0-4 while scoring her lone points from the charity strip.
Auburn would finish the game only shooting 36% from the field while shooting 16.7% from deep.
“We got the shots that we wanted, we just didn’t make them. Then we didn’t get to the boards to rebound those shots,” Harris said.
Rebounding continues to be a struggling issue for the Blue & Orange. Missouri was able to outrebound their opponents 33-28, with seven of those being offensive. It has been a constant struggle throughout the season for Auburn to dominate on the boards and a key point of emphasis for this squad if they want to get wins.
Auburn will be back in action against No. 1 South Carolina this Thursday. The Tigers will travel to Columbia with a 7 p.m. tip-off and broadcasting by SECN+.