TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Coming off a tough loss at Neville Arena against No. 1 South Carolina, Auburn traveled to Tuscaloosa to face off against rivals Alabama. Despite a start to the game that saw the two teams go toe to toe, the Tigers could not match up against the Crimson Tide in a 69-46 loss.
"Just disappointed," Auburn head coach Johnnie Harris said. "This was the first time I felt like we really went away from our game plan.”
The struggles started early for Auburn, as the team failed to score until the 5:27 mark of the first quarter, until Kharyssa Richardson was able to break the scoring drought with a layup.
Three pointers were possibly the biggest struggle for Auburn. The Tigers were unable to find the net from behind the arc at all in the first half, finishing 0-for-7. The second half would almost mirror the first, as Auburn would be unable to hit a long range shot for the remainder of the game, finishing 0-for-16.
After having tied a career-high 15 points against South Carolina, Sydney Shaw was unable to follow it up this game. The freshman started the game 0-for-3 before seeing the bench early. Shaw continued to struggle in the second half, giving away a turnover before not seeing the floor the rest of the game and finishing with zero points.
Heading into the break Auburn would not score a field goal in the last 5:53 of play. In that time Alabama was able to put together a 9-0 run to gain the first real advantage of the game, ultimately taking a 31-21 lead into the second half.
It was much of the same story to start off the second half, as Alabama would put together another run, this time 7-0, to extend the lead to 17 points.
Rebounds posed a steep challenge for the Tigers. The Blue & Orange finished with 34 rebounds, while Alabama finished with 45.
Alabama was able to make noise in the paint as well, however, it would mostly come from second chance points. Despite adding the height of Precious Johnson to the lineup, Auburn struggled for defensive rebounds. The Crimson Tide brought down 12 offensive rebounds in route to scoring 13 second chance points.
Auburn could not pose the same threat in the paint. Other than the effort from Richardson with 11 points in the paint, there seemed to be no consistent presence between the blocks all night. Due to this, Auburn was unable to get other aspects of the game going.
“Our game plan was to throw it inside, we had post players open, and we couldn't get the ball inside,” Harris said. “Just really disappointed in our effort tonight."
The return of Aicha Coulibaly to the lineup was crucial in the limited success Auburn had. The team’s leading scorer did not start the game, but that did not stop her from making an impact right away. Coulibaly would finish with yet another double-double as she finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Auburn will turn the attention to Thursday night as Texas A&M will visit The Plains. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT with broadcasting on the SEC Network.