AUBURN, Ala. – A stretch of four home games in eight days begins Sunday for the Auburn women’s basketball team as the Tigers host South Alabama. Game time is set for 3 p.m. CT at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (3-1) hit the court for the first time in over a week, following a 71-61 setback at Houston last Saturday. Auburn was scheduled to face Belmont on Dec. 8, but that game was postponed to Dec. 20. South Alabama is also 3-1, coming off a 65-40 win over William Carey on Tuesday.
Tickets are available at AUBTix.com; all tickets are $6 and valid for general admission seating in the 100 level of the arena. All persons inside Auburn Arena must wear a face covering at all times, sit in designated seats, and maintain appropriate social distancing. Visit the Women’s Basketball Gameday page at AuburnTigers.com for more information.
The women’s basketball team has partnered with Kappa Alpha Theta for a Toy Drive to benefit CASA, an organization that educates and trains volunteers to advocate for neglected children. Fans are encouraged to bring a toy to donate to this cause.
For the latest on Auburn women’s basketball, follow @AuburnWBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
ON THE AIR
›› Brit Bowen and Larry DiChiara have the radio call beginning at 2:45 p.m. CT on WQSI 93.9 FM in Auburn, online at AuburnTigers.com and the official Auburn Tigers app.
›› The game will air nationally on SEC Network with Tyler Denning and Steffi Sorensen on the call.
LAST TIME OUT
›› Unique Thompson scored 26 points and had 23 rebounds, but the Tigers were unable to climb out of a deep first-half hole as Auburn fell for the first time this season, 71-61 at Houston.
›› The Tigers (3-1) had turnover trouble early, went cold for a large portion of the second quarter, and dealt with foul trouble to key contributors as Houston (2-1) took a 34-17 halftime lead. But Auburn fought back in the second half, cutting the deficit to as few as six points before running out of time to complete the comeback.
›› Thompson’s career night was the first 20-point, 20-rebound game by an Auburn player since 1993, when Lauretta Freeman had 30 points and 21 rebounds against Alabama. Thompson’s 23 rebounds tied for the third-most in a game in Auburn history, the most since Sharon Stewart had 23 against Vanderbilt in 1988. She now has three double-doubles in four games this year and 45 for her career.
›› But the rest of Auburn’s offense struggled as the Tigers shot 36 percent for the game (22-of-61) and hit just two 3-pointers. Both of those treys came from junior Alycia Reese, the Chattahoochee Valley CC transfer, who scored 10 points off the bench. Jala Jordan added 13 points and five rebounds, hitting 5-of-5 free throws.
AN AUBURN WIN WOULD…
›› Give the Tigers a 4-1 start to the season for the second time in the last three seasons.
›› Be Auburn’s 21st win in its last 22 home non-conference games.
›› Be Auburn’s 26th consecutive win over South Alabama, dating back to 1981.
AUBURN-SOUTH ALABAMA SERIES
›› This is the 43rd meeting between Auburn and South Alabama in women’s basketball. Auburn is 40-2 all-time against the Jaguars and has won 25 straight, dating back to 1981.
›› South Alabama is Auburn’s most-played non-conference opponent with 42 previous meetings. The next-closest are Troy and UAB, both of whom Auburn has faced 36 times.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 4, 2019 in Mobile
Auburn 82, South Alabama 62
›› Five players scored in double figures, and an offensive flurry early in the fourth quarter broke the game open as Auburn earned an 82-62 road win at South Alabama.
›› The Tigers used a 16-0 run that spanned the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters to break open what had been a close game throughout. Auburn’s long-range shooting was effective for the second straight game as the Tigers hit 12 3-pointers, giving them 25 over their last two contests.
›› Unique Thompson grabbed three rebounds in the fourth quarter to extend her double-double streak to nine straight, dating back to last season. She finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds and was 7-of-7 from the floor. Kiyae’ White added eight rebounds.
SCOUTING SOUTH ALABAMA
›› South Alabama is 3-1 on the season, 1-1 against Division I opponents. The Jaguars defeated Nicholls State 74-66 and fell to Tulane 77-73.
›› The Jaguars were picked to finish third in the Sun Belt in a vote of the league’s coaches. USA went 16-16 overall last year, 9-9 in Sun Belt play to finish sixth in the league.
›› Mahogany Vaught leads USA with 15.0 points per game while Antoinette Lewis adds 14.0 points and 8.3 rebounds. The Jaguars are averaging 70.5 points/game while holding opponents to 55.8.
›› Through four games, Auburn is averaging 76.5 points/game while holding opponents to 59.3 points. At the same point in the season last year, Auburn was scoring 75.5/game while giving up 78.2.
›› Auburn leads the SEC and ranks 12th nationally in steals per game at 13.2; the Tigers are also 25th in the nation and 3rd in the SEC in turnover margin (+6.8/game).
›› Senior forward Unique Thompson is averaging 19.8 points and 13.2 rebounds through four games; she also has three double-doubles on the season. Thompson leads the SEC and ranks 7th nationally in rebounds/game. An honorable-mention All-American and first-team All-SEC performer a year ago, Thompson is Auburn’s lone returning starter. She averaged a double-double for the second straight year in 2020 with 16.2 points and 11.4 rebounds, leading Auburn in both categories. Thompson is also the nation’s leading returner in double-doubles with 22 last season.
›› Two redshirt sophomore transfers that sat out last season are making an immediate impact. Honesty Scott-Grayson (Baylor) and Jala Jordan (West Virginia) have both earned significant minutes through the first several games. Scott-Grayson has started all four games and had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals vs. Gardner-Webb. Jordan is Auburn’s second-leading scorer with 11.7 points/game; she’s also the Tigers’ third-leading rebounder (4.3/game).
›› Four other returners saw game action for Auburn last season: redshirt junior Kiyae’ White and sophomores Annie Hughes, Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu and Sania Wells. Wells and Robinson-Nwagwu played significant minutes in the opener; Robinson-Nwagwu had a career-high four steals and matched career-highs with 6 points and 4 rebounds. Hughes has started all three games so far.
ALL THE NEW FACES
›› Of the 15 players on the roster, 10 of them wore an Auburn uniform for the first time in game action vs. USC Upstate. All 10 newcomers saw the floor in the Tigers’ 82-41 win on Nov. 25 and again vs. Gardner-Webb on Dec. 1.
›› Auburn added three junior college transfers during the offseason, including two NJCAA All-Americans:
›› Kira Lowery came to Auburn from Dyersburg State CC (Tenn.) where she ranked third in the nation in scoring (23.3 ppg) and second in steals (4.0/game) and was an NJCAA All-American in 2020. Lowery has started all four games at PG and leads Auburn with 2.0 assists/game.
›› Keya Patton was a two-time All-American at Wabash Valley College (Ill.), where she scored over 1,000 points in two seasons and averaged 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.4 steals as a sophomore. She scored a season-best 14 points vs. Gardner-Webb (12/1) and is Auburn’s third-leading scorer at 8.8 points/game.
›› Alycia Reese joins the Tigers from just down the road at Chattahoochee Valley CC in Phenix City, where she led the team with 12.8 points/game last season. Reese scored 10 points and hit Auburn’s only two 3-pointers at Houston (12/5).
›› Sophomore Alaina Rice joined the Tigers in June after transferring from Florida A&M. Rice was MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2020 at FAMU where she averaged 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds. Rice led Auburn with 5 assists in the season-opener.
›› The Tigers signed two freshmen during the offeseason: Romi Levy (6-2, F, Herzliya, Israel) and Aicha Coulibaly (6-0, F/G, Mali). Two others joined Auburn as walk-ons: Riley Donahue (5-10, G, Atlanta, Ga.) and Carsen McFadden (5-7, G, Fairview, Texas). Coulibaly has started the first four games; Levy is averaging 5.8 points and 2.3 rebounds and leads Auburn with four blocked shots.
UNIQUE LEADS THE WAY
›› In addition to being the SEC’s active career leader in double-doubles, Unique Thompson is the league’s active leader in career rebounds (941) and steals (150) and is third in career scoring (1,249).
›› Last season, Thompson was second in the SEC and 10th nationally in rebounding (11.4/game), led the SEC and was 8th nationally in offensive rebounds (4.4/game), and was third in the SEC and 15th nationally in field goal percentage (58.2%).
›› With 26 points and 23 rebounds at Houston (12/5), Unique Thompson was the first Auburn player to record a 20-20 game since Lauretta Freeman had 30 points and 21 rebounds at Alabama on Feb. 17, 1993. Her 23 rebounds tied for the third-most in Auburn history.
›› Auburn women’s basketball has had six 20-20 games in its history; Freeman was responsible for three of them, including two in back-to-back games in 1993.
›› Auburn hosts back-to-back games vs. Stephen F. Austin (Dec. 16) and North Florida (Dec. 17). Both games are 6 p.m. CT starts at Auburn Arena.