Tigers drop SEC opener at Alabama, Aicha Coulibaly picked up her third double-double of the season

Aicha coulibaly

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Aicha Coulibaly picked up her third double-double of the season, and Auburn cut a 13-point deficit to three in the final minute but could not overtake Alabama, falling 56-53 Sunday in the SEC opener at Coleman Coliseum.

Sania Wells knocked down a 3-pointer with a minute to play to cut Alabama’s lead to 54-51 and got a stop on the Tide’s ensuing possession, but the Tigers (8-4, 0-1) were unable to get a good look, and Alabama (10-3, 1-1) made late free throws to secure the win.

“We couldn’t get them going the way we needed to on the defensive end,” Auburn head coach Johnnie Harris said. “They were too comfortable. But they’re a high-scoring team, and when you hold a team like that to 56 points, if we knock down a couple of those layups and free throws … it’s a different ballgame.

“They got some offensive rebounds at crucial times. And I thought we let them drive straight down the lane, and we didn’t have good help from our post players. But again, we held them to 56 points, we’ve just got to score more. We’ve got to execute better on the offensive end.

“We’ve got to get our legs back under us so we can play a little harder, a little longer. But I just want to get better every day. That’s all I ask of this team, get a little bit better every day.”

Coulibaly recorded her second straight double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds; it was her third of the season. Honesty Scott-Grayson also had 17 points to share the team lead. Sania Wells added nine points.

Auburn shot 30.0 percent from the field (18-60) and was just 3-of-15 from long range. Alabama was not much better at 31 percent overall, 22.2 percent on 3-pointers. Turnovers were costly for Auburn early; Alabama got 10 points of 12 Auburn giveaways in the opening 20 minutes. The Tide out-rebounded Auburn 46-43.

Alabama led 32-21 at the half. A close first quarter gave way to a sloppy second period on the part of Auburn, where the Tigers turned the ball over seven times – resulting in seven Alabama points – and were just 3-of-11 from the field. Scott-Grayson had nine points in the first half.

After trailing by as many as 13, Auburn cut the deficit to 7 at the end of three, 40-33. Coulibaly scored six of Auburn’s 12 points in the third, and Auburn held Alabama to just three field goals in the period.

Quickly, Auburn cut the Alabama lead to 3 at 40-37 early in the fourth on a pair of Coulibaly buckets. But almost just as quickly, the Tide extended their lead back to double-digits. With Alabama leading 52-41 and just over three minutes to play, the Tigers got a five-point possession thanks to a Coulibaly layup with a foul, coupled with an Alabama technical, to cut the deficit to 52-46. It was almost an eight-point possession as an Auburn 3-pointer after the technical just missed.

JaMya Mingo-Young led Alabama with 14 points, and Brittany Davis added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Auburn is scheduled to return to action Thursday, Jan. 6, on the road at Missouri. Game time is 7 p.m. CT at Mizzou Arena.

Source: Auburn

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