AUBURN, Ala. – Unique Thompson picked up her 13th double-double of the season, but Auburn was unable to overcome a hot-shooting Florida team Thursday night in an 83-63 loss at Auburn Arena.
Florida (11-5, 2-1 SEC) shot 61.5 percent from the field, including 58.8 percent from 3-point range, and also controlled the paint as Auburn (6-8, 0-3) fell behind early and was unable to recover.
“We’re not going to beat anyone giving up 83 points. We’re not,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “You look at the game, we’re giving up … layups, straight line drives to the basket. We’re not getting anything out of our press. We’re just out there running around. We actually had to back off our press and go back to man-to-man so that we could find people to guard them.
“They have to buy into playing defense. If they look at the past tense of our program, we’ve played defense and we’ve won because we played defense. We’ve been down 20 points and have come back to win by playing defense. This team has not bought into playing defense.”
Thompson was held scoreless in the first half but bounced back after halftime to finish with 10 points and 10 rebounds to extend her NCAA-leading double-double total. Brooke Moore was Auburn’s leading scorer with 14 points. Kiyae’ White added eight points and seven rebounds, and Erin Howard had four steals.
Auburn shot 39.3 percent from the field and attempted a season-high 29 3-pointers, making seven (24.1%). Florida grabbed one more rebound than Auburn (30-29). The Tigers forced Florida into 17 turnovers but was only able to convert those into ninie points. Florida, meanwhile, scored 26 points off 16 Auburn turnovers.
The teams traded baskets early, but the Gators ended the first quarter on a 14-5 run to take a 21-12 lead after 10 minutes. Auburn got within five midway through the second and had the chance to cut it to a two-possession game with a last shot, but a turnover led to a Florida layup at the buzzer and a 42-31 UF lead. Florida shot 61.5% from the floor (16-26) and 67% from 3-point range (6-9) in the first half.
An 13-0 run by the Gators to open the third quarter put the game out of reach as Florida turned its halftime advantage into a 55-31 lead just over three minutes into the second half.
Auburn was without the services of senior guard Daisa Alexander, who injured her ankle in Sunday’s game vs. Arkansas. She was honored with a pregame ceremony that recognized her for scoring her 1,000th career point on Dec. 28 vs. Jacksonville State.
Five Gators scored in double figures, led by 19 points from Lavender Briggs.
The Tigers wrap up a three-game home stand Sunday afternoon when they host Alabama. Game time is 2 p.m. CT at Auburn Arena