NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Auburn women’s basketball mounted a valiant comeback from a 15-point second-half deficit but fell one point short in a 49-48 loss to Northwestern Saturday night in the Challenge in Music City.
Trailing 36-23 with 3:26 to play in the third quarter, Auburn went on a 12-0 run over the next four-plus minutes to cut the deficit to just one, then took a 46-43 lead on a Tiffany Lewis 3-pointer with 3:05 to play. But the Tigers would manage just one more basket the rest of the way.
With Auburn ahead 48-47, Northwestern (5-1) took the lead on a jumper from Jordan Hamilton with 12.8 seconds to play. The Tigers had one final attempt, but it would not fall, and Northwestern was able to get the rebound, call timeout, advance the ball and run out the clock.
Auburn shot a season-worst 31.7 percent from the field (19-of-60) and was 6-of-13 at the free-throw line. The Tigers did force 25 Northwestern turnovers, turning those into 21 points; the loss snapped a 10-game Auburn winning streak when forcing 25 or more opponent turnovers.
Janiah McKay led Auburn with 12 points and four assists. Emari Jones had nine points, two shy of a career-high, and shared the team lead with six rebounds. Unique Thompson also had six rebounds along with six points.
An ugly first half on both sides ended with Northwestern leading 26-13. Auburn managed just four points in the second quarter, shooting 21 percent in the opening half. But a 20-point third quarter, along with a strong second-half defensive effort, cut what had been a 15-point deficit to just three headed to the final period.
Northwestern was led by Abi Scheid, who scored 14 points. Lindsey Pulliam had 12 points with 10 of those in the second half.
Auburn closes out the Challenge in Music City at 4:30 p.m. CT Sunday when the Tigers face Chattanooga. Brit Bowen has the call on WTGZ 93.9 FM and AuburnTigers.com with the pregame show beginning at 4:15 p.m.