March 7, 2014
Tyrese Tanner scored 14 points in the Tigers' loss to Texas A&M at the 2014 SEC Tournament (DeMarquis Cobb photo)
By Phillip Marshall
DULUTH, Ga. – A season of ups and downs ended with a crash for Auburn’s women’s basketball team on Friday night. No. 3 seed Texas A&M dominated inside and out on both ends of the court and ran away from the No. 6 seed Tigers 86-54 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Texas A&M (24-7), ranked No. 15 nationally, moved on to play No. 2 seed Tennessee in Saturday’s semifinals. The Tiger (17-14) went home to await a bid from the WNIT.
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said she would welcome a chance to take her young team to postseason play.
“Our expectation is to always play hard and always play defense, two things that we didn’t do tonight,” Williams-Flournoy said. “But we’ll get better. The young ones will grow up. and they will understand the expectation of our women’s basketball program.”
With 6-foot-7 center Rachel Mitchell causing commotion inside, A&M shooters were frequently unchallenged on the outside and took advantage.
Auburn struggled to make shots and struggled to keep the bigger, stronger Aggies off the glass. It was a combination of troubles from which they could not recover.
All-SEC senior Tyrese Tanner said the flood started early.
“It was pretty tough,” Tanner said. “We couldn’t knock anything down and they started their transition. We weren’t scoring and they were scoring
Senior center Peyton Davis, whose five rebounds were a team high for Auburn, said the Tigers didn’t answer the call inside and paid the price.
“We didn’t push back on rebounds,” David said. “Coach Flo told us from the get go we had to push them back. We’re not going to win the jumping war with them. It’s pretty obvious they outrebounded us. They killed us on the boards. You can’t win a game like that.
Tanner led Auburn with 14 points, but she was just 5-of-15 from the field. Freshman Brandy Montgomery scored 12, but she was just 3-of-12.
Courtney Walker scored 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting to lead Texas A&M. Karla Gilbert scored 15.
Auburn shot just 32.8 percent from the field, hitting 20-of-61. Texas A&M shot 58.5 percent on 31-of-53 and dominated on the glass 43-26.
The Aggies ran away to an 11-2 lead out of the gate and quickly made it 16-4 with 15:20 left. After that, Auburn never got closer than eight points. The Aggies led 43-26 at halftime, sucking all the drama out of the game.
After Auburn chipped the lead down to 45-30, Texas A&M went on an 18-0 run to lead 63-30 inside 12 minutes. From there, there was nothing the Tigers could do but play it out. In one stretch, they missed 15 consecutive shots. Texas A&M coach Gary Blair took his starters out with more than 10 minutes left, but still the Aggies led by as many as 39 points.
“We are a very young team,” Williams-Flournoy said. “As much as you want to say we are in the second half of our season and all that, we’re still a very young team. At one point, we had four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor. You are going to have ups and downs with a young team and new point guards.”
Texas A&M had 27 turnovers in a 71-54 victory in Auburn on Jan. 30. Friday night, the Aggies had 15, most of them after the issue was decided.
“Credit Texas A&M,” Williams-Flournoy said. “They played extremely well right as the game began. We didn’t start the game like we wanted to start the game and just didn’t play well tonight.”
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: