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Thompson gets 1,000th rebound; Tigers fall to Belmont

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn senior Unique Thompson had 20 points, 23 rebounds and hit a major milestone with her 1,000th career rebound, but the Tigers could not overcome turnover troubles in a 78-57 loss to Belmont Sunday afternoon at Auburn Arena.

Thompson became the fifth player at Auburn to surpass the 1,000-rebound mark for her career with her 13th board of the day. With 23 rebounds in the contest, Thompson now sits fourth in career rebounds with 1,010, passing Vickie Orr (1,006).

But Auburn (5-3), playing its third game in five days, turned the ball over a season-high 27 times, leading to 31 points for Belmont (4-2). The Tigers also saw the Bruins hit 11 3-pointers and shoot 50 percent from long range.

“The first thing you can’t do is turn the ball over 10 times in the first quarter,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “Nor can you give up 26 points in the first quarter. We put ourselves behind right away. We couldn’t guard the ball. Those who can’t guard one-on-one really got exploited today.”

Thompson’s effort was her second 20-point, 20-rebound game of the season; Auburn had only had five such games in program history heading into the year. Her 23 rebounds tied her career-high, which also ranks as the third-most in a single game in Auburn history. It was also her seventh straight double-double and 49th of her career as she continues to lead the nation in that category.

“I’m so proud of Unique,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I hate that we lose because she just does not get the recognition that she deserves. The numbers that she put up at Houston (26 points, 23 rebounds) and the numbers she put up here … She’s doing unbelievable work in there, and because we lose, she doesn’t get that recognition.”

Redshirt sophomore Honesty Scott-Grayson also had her third straight strong performance with a career-high 18 points along with four rebounds, four assists and a team-leading three steals. Sania Wells added eight points, and Annie Hughes had seven.

The Tigers out-rebounded Belmont 47-30, but the Bruins controlled nearly every other statistical category. Auburn shot 37 percent (22-60) from the field and just 3-of-17 (18%) from 3-point range.

Auburn fell behind 26-14 after one quarter, thanks in large part to 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes. The Tigers would get as close as eight points, but seemingly every time the Tigers would chip away, Belmont would answer with a big shot of its own. The Bruins led 45-28 at the half.

Conley Chinn led four Bruins in double figures with 21 points while Destinee Wells added 15. Jamilyn Kinney added 11 steals.

Auburn will now have a 10-day break before opening SEC play on New Year’s Eve at LSU. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.


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