Ole Miss women’s basketball fell to Auburn at home 64-51, extending their losing streak to three games.
The Rebels started out strong but were derailed by costly turnovers that led to easy Auburn buckets. The Rebels committed 20 turnovers in the game, more than double Auburn’s total of nine. The Rebs also scored just 7 points off turnovers to the Tigers’ 15.
“In order for us to play well against a team like Auburn we have to be able to withstand the pressure for 40 minutes and we just didn’t tonight,” head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said.
Auburn’s full-court defense gave Ole Miss fits early, forcing sloppy passes and slowing the Rebels’ offense from the get-go. Eventually, the Rebels found the gaps in the zone and began to move the ball more decisively to break down the zone. With crisper passes and effective dribble drives, the offense was able to move the zone from side to side and create open looks along the baseline. The Rebels struggled to convert on their open looks though and trailed for the entirety of the first quarter.
Redshirt senior La’Karis Salter went down hard on a drive late in the first quarter and was down for several minutes before walking back to the locker room under her own power. She would return shortly after but did not look the same, struggling to get position in the post and failing to score for the rest of the game.
“We needed more from La’Karis… we needed more from her and we just didn’t get it. That hurt us. You can’t be depended on and then not come to play. She’s not a freshman, she’s a fifth-year senior and we need more from her… I don’t think she played well.”
In the second quarter, the Rebels pushed the tempo on offense in an attempt to negate Auburn’s press but continued to struggle with open looks and turnovers. While they played stifling defense and held Auburn to just 27 first-half points, Ole Miss failed time and time again to get into a groove on offense, instead of turning the ball over and missing open looks. Despite their offensive struggles, the Rebels managed to stay in the game and entered halftime down just three points.
Redshirt senior star Crystal Allen was scoreless in the first half, continuing the trend of starting slowly in the first half before exploding in the second. She was 0-6 from the field and 0-5 from deep in the first half, recording just one assist and three turnovers.
Auburn exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Rebels 25-10 in the period and extending their lead to 18. Ole Miss turned the ball over nine times in eight minutes and had no answer for the Tigers’ press.
“When (Auburn’s press defense) wore my freshman point guard down, and Crystal Allen can’t think about scoring and has to think about bringing the ball up under immense pressure, we need someone else to step up… and nobody did.”
Ole Miss looked better in the fourth quarter, but could not overcome their third-quarter lapse, falling 64-51.
Redshirt senior Shandricka Sessom provided a scoring punch early and finished the game with 16 points on 6-13 shooting, including 4-10 from beyond the arc. Allen played better in the second half yet again, recording 16 points, including eight from the free throw line.
The Rebels hope to bounce back from this loss on Sunday at home against No. 20 Texas A&M.