DULUTH, Ga. – The Auburn women’s basketball team’s fierce rally came up inches short Thursday night when a 3-point shot that would have tied the game glanced off the front of the rim as time expired.
Chadarryl Clay's 3-pointer was inches short at the buzzer/Todd Van Emst photo
The Tigers, trailing by 18 points inside the 12-minute mark, fell 65-62 to No. 22 LSU in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
“I thought they gave a great effort in the second half,” first year Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “If we’d have come with that same type of intensity at the start of the game, we wouldn’t have been in the situation to be down by 18.”
Auburn, the No. 11 seed, fell to 16-14 and will await word on a possible WNIT bid. LSU, the No. 6 seed, improved to 20-10.
Blanche Alverson led Auburn in scoring with 17 points and nine rebounds with two steals. Freshman Chadarryl Clay came off the bench to add 14 points and three steals. Tyrese Tanner added 11 points and five rebounds with two steals in the effort.
Auburn trailed 39-24 at halftime but missed sending the game in overtime when Clay’s long 3-pointer came up inches short.
“I told them in the locker room we had to attack the basket,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We were just standing out there settling for jump shots. Every game that they’ve won, teams have just stood out there and shot jump shots, and that’s how they lose the ballgame. We had to attack the basket and get to the free throw line.”
LSU forced 10 Auburn turnovers in the first half, leading to 16 points.
“I told them in the locker room at halftime that we had to play for the name on the front of our jerseys,” said Williams-Flournoy. “We had fans to come down, we had our administration here. You have to show our fans and administration some effort. They worked extremely hard to help us get to where we are, and you’re not even playing hard. That’s not who we are. That’s not what we do.”
Auburn came out in the second half and cut the LSU lead to 10 with 17:18 remaining, but LSU immediately utilized a 12-4 run to make it an 18-point game with 12:03 to play.
Auburn ended the game on a 16-4 run.