AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- The Auburn Women's Basketball squad got their season kicked off by defeating Jacksonville State, 78-49. Led by Johnnie Harris, who’s in her third season as Head Coach of the Tigers, Auburn picked up their 45th straight win in home openers.
After losing a few key pieces from last year’s team, Harris went out and added nine new faces to help boost the team’s performance from last year. That proved critical as Harris was able to go 10-plus deep in the rotation without a significant drop-off.
“It will continue to evolve,” Harris said on the team's depth tonight. “I probably have 8-9 kids that I could start… I haven’t settled on a starting five, but I’m trying to get some consistency there. So we’ll continue to let that evolve and see where it goes.”
Jacksonville State kept it close for a majority of the first quarter, as it ended with a score of 24-20 in Auburn’s favor. After that the Tigers only allowed six points until the half. That was thanks to Auburn’s Mar’Shaun Bostic and her suffocating defense as she forced four of the team's 11 steals.
The Tigers came out of the half looking to build on to a 15-point lead and continue their defensive prowess. That they did as they only allowed nine points in the third quarter, and 14 in the fourth, with most of those coming in the final minutes of play.
“They had a come to Johnnie meeting,” Harris said on the team's defensive resurgence after the first quarter. “ We were giving up middle drives and in our new defensive system, there’s no help for middle and we weren’t getting any. So, during the break we told them to stop the middle drive.”
Offensively for the Tigers, nine different players scored with four of them reaching double digits. Honesty Grayson-Scott led all scorers with 14 points, going 1-2 from deep. Right behind her was Savanna Scott and Kaitlyn Duhon with 13 points, respectively.
Shooting 44% from deep on only nine attempts, the Tigers really made their living down low, scoring 46 of their 78 points in the painted area. They also took advantage of their trips to the charity stripe hitting 10-12.
“We wanted to get the ball inside, we wanted to get paint points… and that’s a work in progress because this team hasn’t had this size before,” said Harris.
Auburn will welcome Louisiana-Lafayette to Neville Arena on Thursday, Nov. 9 for a 7 p.m. tipoff.