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Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics

Auburn drops second straight, South Carolina sweeps season series

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) – In a sea of orange & blue, Auburn looked to get back in the win column after Sunday’s heartbreaker against Arkansas.

The Tigers hosted No. 1 South Carolina at Neville Arena to try and erase the 94-42 loss from earlier in the year. However, the Gamecocks would pose too much of a challenge and sweep the season series by a score of 83-48.

"I told my team before the game I wanted to see them battle," Auburn coach Johnnie Harris said. "I thought they battled. If you're a competitor you want to be in this game. They're the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. I do think we grew up from the first time we played them."

Right from the start South Carolina dominated, jumping out to a 19-7 lead off the back of an 8-0 run through the first quarter.

Kharyssa Richardson would pick up two quick fouls within the first two minutes of the game that saw her head to the bench. Without the presence of Richardson in the paint, South Carolina’s frontcourt would handle the Tiger’s defensive with no problem, as the Gamecock forwards paved the way with 22 points in the first half. 

Sydney Shaw impressive while matching her career-high of 15 points in the loss. The guard finished 3-for-4 from behind the arc in 27 minutes of action. 

"I'm happy that I was able to contribute to my team, but I'm more worried about the win," Shaw said.

The struggles continued for Auburn as they were not able to slow down the high-powered Gamecock offense. South Carolina would go into the half with a 42-21 lead before coming out of the half firing on all cylinders to extend the lead to 27. 

Despite this, heart and fight never failed the Tigers.

This was best shown by Kaitlyn Duhon when diving on the floor and collecting a steal that ultimately led to a layup by Honestly Scott-Grayson that sent the arena into a roar. 

"We played against All-Americans," Harris said. "At one point they had all seniors on the floor. That's a big difference. That showed them what hard work every summer will do. It should be motivation to get in and work hard and get better."

Assists were at a premium for Auburn, as the team was only able to collect three off the 19 made baskets.

Oyindamola Akinbolawa scored six points while logging a career-high 27 minutes. The freshman just recently arrived in Auburn but has made an impression, despite not fully being adjusted to the college game. 

"I thought she battled," Harris said of Akinbolawa. "She wasn't afraid. She's still learning the American basketball language. She is skilled and she's strong. With a postseason, a summer and a preseason I think you'll see a different kid next year. I'm excited about her growth."

Auburn did not hold their own in the paint as South Carolina was able to score 52 points in that area of the floor, while the Tigers only managed 22.

The absence of Aicha Coulibaly was felt heavily. The guard leads the team in points and rebounds and is regularly the cornerstone of the team. Without Coulibaly, Auburn often found themselves caught in a bind or not knowing where to go with the ball. 

Auburn will turn their focus to Alabama as they will travel to Tuscaloosa this Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. with broadcasting by the SEC Network.


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