By Scott Scroggins
AUBURN, Ala. - A season-best crowd of 3,357 saw Auburn defeat Alabama 69-60 Sunday afternoon at Auburn Arena to snap the Tigers’ six-game losing streak.
“It was a great crowd,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “Coach (Bruce) Pearl and his players talked about that (Saturday) how much the crowd is your sixth man because they just get into the game. It got loud in here, especially when we got some defensive steals and some points. It got really loud, and (Alabama) had to call a timeout. We love that.”
Auburn scored 29 points off 25 Alabama turnovers as the Tigers overcame an early nine-point deficit.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Auburn continues recent string of success against Alabama
The win was Auburn’s 50th all-time over Alabama, the most for the Tigers over any opponent. The Tigers have won 23 of their last 29 meetings against the Crimson Tide dating back to 2004, including an 8-2 record in the last 10 meetings under Coach Flo.
“We think all wins are good, especially after having such a terrible losing streak,” Williams-Flournoy said. “When that first win comes against Alabama, it just makes it even more special.”
Five Tigers score in double figures
Auburn placed five players in double figures for the first time since 2014. The Tigers were led by Janiah McKay’s 18 points, followed by Unique Thompson with 14, Daisa Alexander added 12, Tiffany Lewis added 11 and Emari Jones scored 10 points.
McKay scored 13 first-half points prior to picking up her third foul 29 seconds into the second half and played just 10 minutes after halftime. Alexander and Thompson picked up the scoring slack in the second half as Thompson scored eight points in the third quarter and Alexander scored the Tigers’ first eight points of the fourth quarter.
“We got contributions from just about everybody," Williams-Flournoy said, "and that’s one thing that we talked about this week was everybody just doing something. You’ve got to make some type of play, whether it’s a deflection, a rebound, a steal, getting a loose ball... everybody had to do something.”
Auburn outscored Alabama 21-5 in bench points. It was the most points scored by the Tigers’ reserves since Auburn’s first SEC win over Florida in the conference opener.
Tiffany Lewis and Emari Jones led Auburn’s bench production with 11 points and 10 points, respectively. Lewis, who set a new SEC career-high, made consecutive 3-pointers after Alabama opened the game on an 11-2 run. Jones added a pair of 3s in the second quarter, the second of which gave Auburn a 34-31 halftime lead.
“I talked to both Emari (Jones) and Tiffany (Lewis) about coming out of the starting lineup but ... coming off the bench and giving us something,” Williams-Flournoy said. “You were starters, you can’t come off the bench and not give us anything, and they did a great job. They heard the message, they came out here and they played extremely well for us."
Unique Thompson records sixth double-double of freshman season
Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds in addition to her 14 points for her sixth double-double of the season. Her six double-doubles are tied with C.C. Hayden for the second-most by a freshman in program history and just one off Le’Coe Willingham’s school freshman record. The Theodore, Ala., native is averaging a double-double in SEC play with 10.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
“We had to find a way to get her the basketball,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We were kind of hesitant. You’ve got to get the ball inside. You’ve got to be able to play inside-out. Unique did a great job. She faced up, she turned, she scored. She did a really good job for us.”
On Thursday, Auburn will travel to Kentucky for the first of two straight road games. Game time is 6 p.m. CT at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.