Cold-Shooting Tigers Fall In WNIT Quarters

The Auburn women's basketball team's season ended on Saturday night with a 56-43 loss to the Drexel Dragons.

Auburn, Ala--Auburn roared into its postseason tournament like Tigers but went out like lambs, losing 56-43 to Drexel in the quarter-finals of the WNIT on Saturday night.

Auburn jumped to a quick 5-0 lead, but went ice cold with its shooting and never recovered.

Auburn hit just 4-28 first half shots to dig itself into a major hole by halftime, trailing 30-12.

"We are a much better team than we showed today," said Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, whose Tigers had a run of 11 minutes without scoring a field goal in the first half.

"I am still very proud of them," the coach said. "When we had our eight-game losing streak they could have taken a dive, but they didn't do that."

The Tigers outscored the Dragons 31-26 in the second half, but never really got hot shooting the ball, hitting 39.2 percent after halftime to finish at 27.4 percent for the night.

The Tigers' inability to put the ball in the basket was too much to overcome. Auburn hit just 19-62 field goals. The Tigers struggled from three-point range, too, hitting just 3-15 and were uncharacteristically bad at the foul line making just 6-17.

Drexel was nothing special with its shooting, making 37.9 percent, but did manage to make 7-22 threes and 5-7 free throws.

A key statistic for the visitors was they turned the ball over just nine times. With Auburn's inability to score the Tigers had a limited number of opportunities to employ its full-court pressure defense.

Auburn turned the ball over nine times, too, and finished with 42 rebounds, one more than the Dragons.

Tyrese Tanner led Auburn in scoring with 16 points and Blanche Alverson added 15 points. Hasina Muhammad led the Tigers on the boards with nine rebounds, but hit just 2-13 shots to finish with four points.

"We showed fight in the second half, but it was too little too late," said Alverson, whose next basketball event will be in the three-point shootout at the men's Final Four in Atlanta.

Alverson and Tanner said their team's inability to make baskets prevented the Tigers from getting into their full-court pressure defense, giving the Dragons extra time to set up a good shot.

"The biggest thing about our team this year is that they move the ball really well," said Drexel coach Denise Dillon. "They are willing to share the ball and make the extra pass.

"This year, in particular, we saw more of the three-quarter court trap so our players were somewhat comfortable and aware of, it even though we only had one day to prepare," she said. "Each of the players wanting the ball and making the extra pass allowed us to break it."

Hollie Mershon led Drexel with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

The Tigers finished the season with a 19-15 mark while the Dragons improved to 25-10.

Looking at the season as a whole, Williams-Flournoy said, "I think we met our goals. The biggest and toughest thing was trying to get a new team to play your style of basketball. I thought at times we did it well and then there were times that we did not.

"It became a personnel problem," Williams-Flournoy added. "You are asking people to play certain positions and play a style of basketball that they are not really used to or talented enough to do."

Mershon, Hollie 7-22 3-3 19; Flanagan, Fiona 4-9 2-2 13; Wootton, Taylor 6-9 0-1 12; Pearson, Rachel 2-6 0-0 5; Johnson-Allen, Renee 2-4 0-0 5; Redick, Abby 1-4 0-0 2; Creighton, Meghan 0-4 0-1 0. Totals 22-58 5-7 56.

Tyrese Tanner 7-17 2-4 16; Blanche Alverson 5-14 2-2 15; Peyton Davis 2-2 1-3 5; Muhammad, Hasina 2-13 0-2 4; Chadarryl Clay 1-8 0-1 2; Tra'cee Tanner 0-3 1-4 1; Cabriana Capers 0-3 0-1 0; Cedricka Sweeting 0-0 0-0 0; Najat Ouardad 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-62 6-17 43.

Drexel 30 26 56
Auburn 12 31 43

3-point goals--Drexel 7-22 (Flanagan, Fiona 3-6; Mershon, Hollie 2-10; Pearson, Rachel 1-2; Johnson-Allen, Renee 1-1; Creighton, Meghan 0-2; Wootton, Taylor 0-1), Auburn 3-15 (Blanche Alverson 3-10; Chadarryl Clay 0-4; Najat Ouardad 0-1).
Fouled out--Drexel-None, Auburn-None.
Rebounds--Drexel 41 (Mershon, Hollie 13), Auburn 42 (Muhammad, Hasina 9). Assists--Drexel 12 (Mershon, Hollie 7), Auburn 8 (Najat Ouardad 3; Chadarryl Clay 3).
Total fouls--Drexel 14, Auburn 15. Technical fouls--Drexel-None, Auburn-None.

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