AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn held No. 13 Missouri to one of its lowest scoring outputs of the season but came up short in a 59-51 loss Thursday night in SEC women’s basketball action at Auburn Arena.
Auburn (13-12, 4-9 SEC) forced Missouri (21-5, 9-4) into a season-high 24 turnovers, had 22 offensive rebounds, took 29 more shots and held the SEC’s top 3-point shooting team to just five treys. But a bad first quarter and a tough shooting night kept Auburn from pulling the upset.
“If you take away the first quarter, it would have been a different basketball game,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We continued to fight. The effort cannot be denied and (there are) just so many things when you look at the stat sheet. We took 76 shots and they took 47. We had 22 offensive rebounds and forced them into 24 turnovers. Someone would look at the stats and wonder how in the world we lost, and it goes back to the first quarter.”
Junior Janiah McKay led Auburn with 18 points and dished out four assists. Sophomore Daisa Alexander added 13 points, six rebounds and a team-high five steals, and senior Jazmine Jones added four points, a team-high eight rebounds and four steals.
Both teams made 21 field goals on the night. But Auburn attempted 76, shooting 27.6 percent from the field while Missouri was 44.7-percent on 47 attempts. Auburn also had one of its least effective nights at the free-throw line since early in the season, hitting just 6-of-14 attempts. Both teams also had 43 rebounds – tying for Auburn’s most in SEC play – with 22 offensive boards for Auburn.
Auburn found itself down 19-7 after one quarter, hitting just 3-of-21 attempts from the field and 1-of-10 from 3-point range. But Auburn started getting more high-percentage shots, steadily improving throughout the rest of the game and limiting their 3-point attempts. The result was outscoring Missouri 44-40 over the final three periods.
Missouri led 30-16 at halftime and held a 17-point lead early in the third quarter, but Auburn cut it as close as four points over the next eight minutes, pulling within 38-34 on an Alexander layup with 1:15 left. But Missouri would put together a 12-4 run over the next four-plus minutes to extend the lead to double-digits.
Jordan Frericks led Missouri with 19 points, and Sophie Cunningham added 12.
Auburn hits the road for its next two games, beginning with a trip across the state to face Alabama at 4 p.m. Sunday.