OXFORD, Miss. – Brandy Montgomery scored 19 points, but Auburn’s comeback bid fell short at Ole Miss in a 63-59 loss Thursday night.
The Tigers trailed by as many as nine midway through the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to two points in the final minute. But Auburn missed six free throws in the fourth quarter and nine in the game, and could not complete the comeback.
“That’s absolutely unbelievable,” Williams-Flournoy said of the free-throw shooting. “We fix one problem, rebounding, and then we can’t shoot free throws. We’re such a better free-throw shooting team than that. We forced 20 turnovers, got 22 points off those turnovers, we out-rebounded them 42-38, we got 19 offensive rebounds, we do everything that we need to do. We missed a lot of shots. We’re just not going to win with just one person making shots.”
Montgomery, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, was Auburn’s only player in double figures. Katie Frerking, Tiffany Lewis and Jessica Jones had nine points each. Lewis made her first start at Auburn in tonight’s game.
Jones finished with a game-high 10 rebounds as Auburn won the rebounding battle 42-38; it was the first time this season for Auburn to fall when outrebounding its opponent.
Ole Miss built its lead on the strength of 26 points from Shandricka Sessom, who hit six 3-pointers on the night. The Rebels sealed the win at the free-throw line with Alissa Alston hitting eight in the final minutes; she finished with 14 points.
Auburn found itself in a tie game at halftime, 26-26, for the first time this season. The Tigers trailed for most of the first half and were down eight with 6:22 to play in the second quarter. But Auburn went on a 9-0 run to take its first lead since the opening minute on a Montgomery tip-in that made it 21-20. Ole Miss pulled back ahead 26-21, but a 3-pointer from Lewis and a layup from an offensive rebound by Jessica Jones in the final seconds pulled Auburn back even at the break.
Auburn shot 34 percent from the field, but just 36 percent (5-14) at the free-throw line. Ole Miss was 41 percent from the floor and made 19-of-29 free throws (66%). The Tigers scored 22 points off 20 Ole Miss turnovers.
The Tigers are back at Auburn Arena for their final two home games of the season, beginning Monday night as Auburn hosts Alabama. Game time is 6 p.m. with the broadcast on SEC Network.