Coach Flo gets 100th Auburn win; Tigers down LSU
AUBURN, Ala. – Led by 23 points from junior Janiah McKay, the Auburn women’s basketball team avenged an earlier loss to LSU with a 70-62 victory at Auburn Arena Thursday night.
It was the 100th win at Auburn for head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, now in her sixth season with the Tigers (12-11, 3-8 SEC). Auburn improved to 9-2 at home this season with the victory.
“It was definitely a hard fought win,” Williams-Flournoy said. “LSU is on a winning streak. They had beaten Georgia and Tennessee, and they’re playing really well right now. I’m really proud of our ladies for how strong they were withstanding the runs LSU had on us.
“It’s great. We’ve been at that point where we’ve been right there. We’ve kept coming back without the win and kept coming back without the win. This is something that they’ve really needed. We can keep saying that we’ve played hard and that we were almost there, but at the end of the day, you want the win. I’m proud of them for finishing this one out with the win because LSU is tough. They’re a very good team and the conference is just tough.”
McKay’s 23 led all scorers. She was 6-of-13 from the field but 11-of-12 at the free-throw line, including 8-of-9 in the fourth quarter as she helped Auburn seal the victory. She also had a team-leading five assists. Freshman Unique Thompson added 20 points and a game-high nine rebounds, missing a double-double by just one board. Sophomore Daisa Alexander provided an early offensive spark and finished with 15 points.
Auburn shot 45.3 percent, their best in conference play this year, and was 19-of-23 (82.6%) at the free-throw line. The Tigers also scored 14 second-chance points off 14 offensive rebounds and pulled down 35 total boards to 29 for LSU (15-7, 7-4).
“We made rebounding a huge factor,” Williams-Flournoy said, “and especially No. 5 (LSU’s Ayana Mitchell) because the last couple of games she had been just a beast on the boards, and so we definitely couldn’t let her hurt us that way. You saw later in the game when she started going to the boards, it could’ve hurt us if we had let it to continue like that, but that was our number one goal to, one, to keep (Mitchell) off the board and for our guards to get in there and rebound as well.”
After the teams traded buckets early, Auburn pulled ahead to an 18-14 lead after one period. That lead would swell to as many as 14 in the second quarter before finishing the half with a 12-point lead – Auburn’s largest halftime lead in SEC play this year – at 38-26.
A slow third quarter that saw LSU take advantage of opportunities at the free-throw line saw the visitors pull within as few as six points late. But a pair of jumpers from Thompson and McKay in the final minute put Auburn back ahead by 10 after three, 51-41. Auburn then got to the free-throw line 15 times in the fourth quarter, making 13, and fought off a sudden 3-point barrage from LSU to hold on for the win.
Chloe Jackson led LSU with 19 points while Raigyne Louis added 15. Auburn’s win snapped a three-game streak for LSU, which had included victories over top-20 foes Georgia and Tennessee.
Auburn continues a three-game home stand Monday night as Vanderbilt visits Auburn Arena. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT with the broadcast on SEC Network and WTGZ 93.9 FM.