The Tigers dropped their eighth straight vs the Tide in a lopsided affair, 88-57, in an afternoon where for the first time in SEC history all seven women’s road teams walked away with victories.
The injury plagued Auburn Tigers (10-6, 0-4 SEC) walked out their eighth different starting lineup this season against their cross-state rival Alabama Crimson Tide (13-4, 2-1 SEC), as they were without leading scorer and rebounder Aicha Coulibaly this afternoon. The Tigers did welcome back senior guard Honesty Scott-Grayson after missing three straight games with injury, but in limited minutes finished with only 6 points on 2-6 shooting. The Tigers are 8-2 this season when Coulibaly and Scott-Grayson appear in the same game but have now dropped to 2-4 when only one has played.
The Tide entered Neville Arena leading the SEC and ranked ninth in all of Division One WBB in three-point shooting at 38% as a team, and that number will rise as they shot an even 50% on 16 attempts against the Tigers. The Tide lit up the scoreboard in all shooting categories, going 57%, 50%, and 78% in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage. The Tide also ended the contest with positive margins in the assist and rebounding categories, being +11 and +12, respectively.
“We didn’t have the rotation down that we were supposed to have. We’re relying on players who haven’t been in this position”, head coach Johnni Harris voiced about her team.
For Auburn, the performance today seemed uncomfortable. Between the pace of play, offensive miscues and defensive confusion, the Tigers seemed out of sorts from the opening tip. So much so, the Tigers turned the ball over five times on their first nine possessions and never led in the game because of those mishaps.
The Tigers shot only 34.5% from the field compared to their 41.6% season average, as Alabama consistently mixed up their defensive personnel. From half-court man, to zone, and even a full-court man press falling back into a pressure 2-3 zone that gave looks of a high 1-3-1 zone, the Tigers had a hard time deciphering what the Tide was throwing at them. Sania Wells finished with a season high 13 points, Kharyssa Richardson (11) and Mar’shaun Bostic (10) also finished in double figures.
“I’m going to have to teach them better and get them ready to play. This is what we have, and we’ve just got to get them ready to play”, coach Harris later mentioned about the youth and inexperience of the team.
Auburn aims to get back on track and pick up their first win in the SEC column but have yet another tough road test against the undefeated 7th ranked LSU Tigers (16-0, 3-0 SEC) this upcoming Sunday, January 15. The week off comes at a very important time for coach Harris’ Tigers, as they aspire to be fully healthy for the heart of their SEC schedule in the upcoming weeks ahead.