AUBURN - It wasn't the picture of perfection, but first-year coach Terri Williams-Flournoy's pressing and running Auburn Tigers were far too much for Alabama State on Thursday night at Auburn Arena.
Tyreese Tanner goes to the hoop against Alabama State
In the home debut for Williams-Flournoy, the Tigers dominated the Hornets from Montgomery 80-43. They missed too many layups and not enough defense for Flournoy's taste, but on this night it didn't matter.
The Tigers had 40 points in the paint to Alabama State's 10 and 52 rebounds to Alabama State's 36. Though they turned it over 15 times, the Tigers forced 26 ASU turnovers and held the Hornets to 25.9 percent shooting.
None of that was enough to keep Williams-Flournoy, with less than four minutes remaining in the game, from setting a defensive goal for her team and warning them practice would be unpleasant if they didn't hold the Hornets to 45 points.
“At the end of the game with almost four minutes left we gave them another defensive goal, because I didn’t think that they were playing defense," Williams-Flournoy said. "I had to threaten them a little bit and give them a defensive goal. They actually reached the defensive goal."
Five Tigers finished in double figures, led by Blanch Alverson's 17 points.
“It felt great to just walk out there and see the crowd ready for us to play our first home game,” Williams-Flournoy said. “It was really exciting.”
Hasina Muhammad and Chadarryl Clay had 15 points each for Auburn. Tyrese Tanner had 13 and Peyton Davis a career-high 12.
“In spots we looked really good," Williams-Flournoy said. "We were closing up our traps, we stepped it up in space, we got in the line of the ball and we were getting the steals. Then at times we were getting a little tired and we didn’t move as fast. Those are the things we just need to work on. The effort has to always be there, because this is the way that we play.”
Auburn jumped out to a 16-2 lead, then went on a 20-4 run to go up 36-6 with 4:19 left in the first half. Williams-Flournoy substituted frequently.