The Auburn Tigers went into their SEC opener against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers riding a nine-game winning streak and primed to keep it going. However, the nationally-ranked Lady Vols had something different in mind at Auburn Arena.
The 78-69 home loss stung, but the Tigers would bounce back against the Florida Gators to even their SEC record before facing in-state rival Alabama, which begin its league run with a come-from-behind victory over the Gators as well.
So, Thursday’s game was critical for both teams looking to get off to a good start in conference play and Auburn took care of business with a 66-56 victory on the road in Tuscaloosa.
The Tigers, which improved to 14-2 overall, were led by Daisa Alexander with 22 points and the victory landed Auburn into fourth place in the early SEC standings.
The inside game for the Tigers was on point, scoring 42 points in the paint and creating 25 turnovers. Despite that, the Tigers almost let this game slip away, but managed to hang on in the end.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but a victory is still a victory.
“We’ll take that ugly win,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We had to scrap and fight and grind to get it. We told the team that this would be a game of runs. In a game like this, the X’s and O’s go out the door. It comes down to who wants it more and who’s going to fight the hardest for it. We had to go through their little storm then come back and get ready to play.”
The Tigers will face their biggest test of the season yet when they welcome No. 7 Mississippi State into Auburn Arena on Monday night. The Bulldogs will be a good measuring stick to see how far the Tigers have come or have far they have to go.