the north face gore tex jacket Auburn overcomes slow start to win SEC opener against Florida
Auburn overcame a sluggish first quarter and rallied to soundly defeat Florida in its women’s basketball SEC opener Sunday at Auburn Arena, 84 55.
Auburn missed its first 17 shots of the game and trailed the Gators by 16 points in the opening quarter. Outside of a pair of free throws by guard Janiah McKay, Auburn was held scoreless for the first 6:59 of the game, when Abigayle Jackson dropped a 3 pointer from the top of the arc.
Emari Jones followed with a similar shot nearly a full minute later that sparked a run to cut the Florida lead to just seven by the end of the quarter.
“They have the confidence where they know they need to buckle down our defense,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams Flournoy said. “We know that we can get back into the game. We know that when we’re pushing into transition it’s easier to score.”
By the half, Auburn trailed 36 35 and would take its first lead in the third quarter. Florida led once more for a mere 24 seconds in the third before falling behind.
“I thought our young ladies did a great job of not panicking and understanding what I told them, that it’s a game of runs,” said Williams Flournoy. “We knew Florida was going to make its run, so we had to make our run. We didn’t panic when they made their run and we were down by quite a lot in the first quarter.
“They understand that it’s our defense that will get us back into the game.”
Auburn finished just shy of 39 percent shooting, going 32 of 83 with an 8 of 24 mark from beyond the arc.
One of the keys to Auburn’s victory over the Gators came in the form of turnovers. The Tigers forced 28 turnovers and converted those into 33 points. They only gave up five turnovers.
“[The team] made sure I knew that they only had five turnovers because I was preaching to them how we were averaging 17 turnovers right now,” Williams Flournoy said. “We did a very good job of taking care of the ball, and that’s what we want to be able to do.”
McKay led the Tigers with 25 points, but finished 9 of 21. She recorded a single field goal late in the first half, in addition to finishing 7 of 8 from the line.
“We never give up on our press because we know that our press has gotten us back into the game before, so once we were getting shots into the basket, we were unstoppable,” McKay said.
Daisa Alexander had a strong outing for the Tigers, recording 21 points on a 9 of 20 mark. Jones finished 6 of 11 for 18 points.
“Your team is going to have your back, whether they are falling or not falling, they are going to fall,” said Jones about giving her team a spark. “As a shooter, you know you have to continue to shoot even though they aren’t falling.”
The win gives Auburn its seventh straight victory, as well as its fifth SEC opening win in the last six years.
“I feel like we set the tone for our next game,” Jones said. “We take it one game at a time. We know every night is going to be a dog fight and we are ready.”
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