March 2, 2014
Second-year Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy leads the Tigers into SEC Tournament (Anthony Hall photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Despite Sunday's disappointing 73-71 overtime loss at last-place Ole Miss, Auburn claimed the No. 6 seed for the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
On Thursday at the Gwinett Center in Duluth, Ga., the Tigers will play the winner of Wednesday's game between No. 11 seed Arkansas and No. 14 Ole Miss. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.
Five teams, including Auburn, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Georgia and LSU, finished tied for sixth in the final standings with 7-9 SEC records. Auburn got the No. 6 seed because it had the best combined record against the other four.
That was welcome news for Auburn and second-year head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, but the loss to Ole Miss was still costly. With a win, the Tigers could have put themselves in position to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. But at 16-13 overall and 7-9 in the SEC, they will have to go deep into the tournament to be a viable contender.
Williams-Flournoy made no attempt after the game to hide her unhappiness with what she had seen.
"We really didn't do anything well today," Williams-Flournoy said. "You have to be ready to play. Ole Miss had nothing to lose and they played that way. It's awful."
Ole Miss jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Auburn never led by more than one point.
"Once again, we go down at halftime and then come out ready to play," Williams-Flournoy said. "I have no idea what to do with them to get them ready to play. We had a chance to be 8-8 and then we come down here and lose at Ole Miss."
Ole Miss (11-19, 2-14) jumped to a 36-30 halftime lead. Auburn rallied to tie the game at 67 in regulation, but Ole Miss escaped. Auburn had the ball inside the 10-second mark, but a turnover with three seconds left took away its last chance.
Auburn had five more field goals, outrebounded the Rebels 52-39 and had 21 second-chance points, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 10-point deficit at the free throw line. The Tigers made 6-of-13 free throws and the Rebels made 16-of-21.
Senior Tyrese Tanner scored 20 points and freshman Brandy Montgomery 15. Valencia McFarland, a 5-foot-3 point guard, led the upset for Ole Miss with 27 points.
For the tournament bracket, click on the link below.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: