AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - After suffering a short-handed loss at the hands of Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night, Coach Terri Williams-Fournoy and the Auburn Tigers immediately returned to action in Auburn Arena on Thursday. The orange and blue was able to find the results it was looking for in a 94-81 victory over the visiting University of North Florida Ospreys.
The first quarter was no easy task for the Tigers, UNF was able to start the contest off on a 9-1 scoring run and forced Auburn's head coach into taking an early timeout in effort to regroup.
“Really I just wanted to settle them down,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Because sometimes you have a tendency to look back instead of going forward...like no, let’s just let it go. Let’s just relax and let’s just play.”
Between the message within Auburn’s first timeout and the hot hand of Jala Jordan — who manufactured eight points in the first — coach Flo’s squad climbed its way back into the game and eventually took its first lead.
Despite finding an offensive rhythm, Auburn’s battle was not yet won. The Ospreys continued to present the Tigers with trouble on both ends of the floor and the first quarter produced a combined five lead changes.
After willing her team back into the contest, previously mentioned Jordan received help from another sophomore. The second quarter belonged to Annie Hughes, who tallied nine points via the three ball, tying her career high in scoring(11) and helped the Tigers build a 44-32 lead going into the half.
Coach Flo attributes the true sophomore’s standout performance to her increase in confidence from her freshman campaign.
“I think it’s really more just a confidence level,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Annie’s not really doing anything differently than she should have done last year I just don’t feel like she had the confidence.”
Hughes’ play did not drop off in the final 20 minutes. The guard continued her upward trend in the third quarter dropping an additional six points and setting a new career high of 17.
When asked what was working for her, Hughes gave the credit to her coach.
“I don’t know,” Hughes said. “Coach told me what to do, and then I did it. It was kinda cool; she had all the confidence in the world in me tonight and I could just hear it in her voice, so it really propelled me to just go out there and have fun.”
The University of North Florida surged late in the fourth; however, was unable to regain control of the game. Although content with the outcome, Williams-Fournoy accredits the resurgence to her team’s continued struggles to defend perimeter shooting.
“I think we’ve got this blockage in us,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Like ‘Should I go? Should I not go?’ Clearly on the scouting report all it says is ‘three point shooter.’ I think sometimes they actually think that they’re going to get blown past.”
The ninth-season head coach says — if the Tigers wish to improve in the discipline — that mentality must change.
“I told them today: ‘it’s okay,’” Williams-Flournoy said. “Because they will only get two points if they blow past us. If you don’t go out and guard them they’ll get three points. Playing three-for-two does not work well.”
Coach Flo and the rest of the Auburn Tigers have two days to adopt the mentality as they prepare for Sunday’s 2:00 p.m. matchup with Belmont. The game will take place at Auburn arena and is broadcast live on SECN+.