AUBURN, Ala. – After three straight home games to open the season, the Auburn women’s basketball team makes its first and only road trip of the non-conference slate this weekend as the Tigers travel to Texas to take on the Houston Cougars. Game time is noon CT Saturday at the Fertitta Center.
Auburn (3-0) is coming off a 97-61 win over Gardner-Webb Tuesday night at Auburn Arena that saw five Tigers score in double figures and balanced minutes throughout the roster. The Tigers’ 97 points also tied for the highest scoring total of the Terri Williams-Flournoy era.
Houston (1-1) is playing its first home game of the season after a 97-85 road win at Oklahoma last week and an 88-66 loss at Alabama Sunday.
ON THE AIR
›› Saturday’s game can be heard on WTGZ 95.9 FM in Auburn and online at AuburnTigers.com and the official Auburn Tigers app. Wes Todd will have the play-by-play with Brooks Childress in the studio.
›› The game can be seen on ESPN+, available to those with a subscription to the service.
LAST TIME OUT
›› Five Auburn players scored in double-figures, and Auburn’s defense helped lead the charge as the Tigers ran away from Gardner-Webb with a 97-61 victory Tuesday night at Auburn Arena.
›› The Tigers (3-0) shot better than 50 percent in all four quarters, finishing at 53.4 percent for the game, and turned 24 turnovers by Gardner-Webb (0-2) into 25 points. All 14 players dressed saw the floor for Auburn, and 12 of 14 found their way onto the scoresheet.
›› Auburn’s 97 points equaled its highest scoring output of the Terri Williams-Flournoy era, matching a 97-point effort in the season opener against Grambling State in 2018.
›› Unique Thompson led Auburn with 21 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double in as many games. She also had four steals on the night. Redshirt sophomore Honesty Scott-Grayson and junior Keya Patton both had their best Auburn performances to date as both tallied 14 points. Scott-Grayson also pulled down a season-best seven rebounds along with a team-best five steals and three assists. Jala Jordan hit double-digits for the second time this season with an 11-point night along with a team-best four assists, and freshman Aicha Coulibaly finished with a season-best 10 points and six rebounds.
AN AUBURN WIN WOULD…
›› Give the Tigers a 4-0 start for the second time in the Coach Flo era, the first since 2016-17 (5-0).
›› Snap a 6-game losing streak in the state of Texas (last win: vs. St. John’s, 2016 NCAA Tournament 1st round in Waco).
›› Improve Auburn to 19-7 against current members of the American Athletic Conference.
›› Auburn and Houston are meeting for the third time in women’s basketball. The two previous meetings happened in 1993, with Auburn winning both games.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 27, 1993 at Houston
Auburn 70, Houston 55
›› Danielette Coleman had 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Tigers to a 70-55 win over Houston in the championship game of the Hobby Hilton Classic at Hofheinz Pavilion.
›› Three other Tigers hit for double-figures: Monique Morehouse (10), Kristen Mulligan (11) and Pam Smith (11). Mulligan also added 8 assists.
›› Houston is 1-1 through its first two games. The Cougars downed Oklahoma 97-85 in their opener, then fell at Alabama 88-66. This is Houston’s first home game of the season.
›› The Cougars were picked to finish seventh in the AAC in a vote of the league’s coaches. Last season, Houston was 12-19 overall, 5-11 in conference play to finish 10th in the AAC.
›› Britney Onyeje leads the Cougars with 17.5 points/game through two games, hitting 9-of-22 3-point attempts (40.9%). Julia Blackshell-Fair is the Coogs’ leading rebounder with 7.5/game. Both players scored 12 points at Alabama; Onyeje scored 23 at Oklahoma with five treys. She was named to the AAC weekly honor roll for her efforts.
›› Through three games, Auburn is averaging 81.7 points/game while holding opponents to 55.3 points. At the same point in the season last year, Auburn was scoring 78.7/game while giving up 83.7.
›› Auburn leads the SEC and ranks 11th nationally in turnover margin at +11; the Tigers are averaging 23.3 opponent turnovers/game while committing 12.3 of their own.
›› Senior forward Unique Thompson is averaging 17.7 points and 10.0 rebounds through three games; she also has two double-doubles on the season. An honorable-mention All-American and first-team All-SEC performer a year ago, Thompson is Auburn’s lone returning starter. She averaged a double-double for the second straight year in 2020 with 16.2 points and 11.4 rebounds, leading Auburn in both categories. Thompson is also the nation’s leading returner in double-doubles with 22 last season.
›› Two redshirt sophomore transfers that sat out last season are making an immediate impact. Honesty Scott-Grayson (Baylor) and Jala Jordan (West Virginia) have both earned significant minutes through the first several games. Scott-Grayson has started all three games and had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals vs. USC Upstate. Jordan is Auburn’s second-leading scorer with 11.7 points/game; she’s also the Tigers’ second-leading rebounder (4.0/game) and leading 3-point shooter (5-12, 41.7%).
›› Four other returners saw game action for Auburn last season: redshirt junior Kiyae’ White and sophomores Annie Hughes, Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu and Sania Wells. Wells and Robinson-Nwagwu played significant minutes in the opener; Robinson-Nwagwu had a career-high four steals and matched career-highs with 6 points and 4 rebounds. Hughes has started all three games so far.
ALL THE NEW FACES
›› Of the 15 players on the roster, 10 of them wore an Auburn uniform for the first time in game action vs. USC Upstate. All 10 newcomers saw the floor in the Tigers’ 82-41 win on Nov. 25 and again vs. Gardner-Webb on Dec. 1.
›› Auburn added three junior college transfers during the offseason, including two NJCAA All-Americans:
›› Kira Lowery came to Auburn from Dyersburg State CC (Tenn.) where she ranked third in the nation in scoring (23.3 ppg) and second in steals (4.0/game) and was an NJCAA All-American in 2020. Lowery leads the Tigers in assists (2.7) through three games.
›› Keya Patton was a two-time All-American at Wabash Valley College (Ill.), where she scored over 1,000 points in two seasons and averaged 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.4 steals as a sophomore. She scored a season-best 14 points vs. Gardner-Webb (12/1) and is Auburn’s third-leading scorer at 9.7 points/game.
›› Alycia Reese joins the Tigers from just down the road at Chattahoochee Valley CC in Phenix City, where she led the team with 12.8 points/game last season.
›› Sophomore Alaina Rice joined the Tigers in June after transferring from Florida A&M. Rice was MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2020 at FAMU where she averaged 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds. Rice led Auburn with 5 assists in the season-opener.
›› The Tigers signed two freshmen during the offeseason: Romi Levy (6-2, F, Herzliya, Israel) and Aicha Coulibaly (6-0, F/G, Mali). Two others joined Auburn as walk-ons: Riley Donahue (5-10, G, Atlanta, Ga.) and Carsen McFadden (5-7, G, Fairview, Texas). Coulibaly has started the first three games, and Levy is averaging 7.7 points and 2.7 rebounds through two contests.
›› With two double-doubles so far this season, Unique Thompson has 44 career double-doubles, the all-time Auburn career record. She surpassed Auburn great DeWanna Bonner’s record with her 41st double-double at Missouri on Feb. 27, 2020.
›› Unique needs 13 more double-doubles this season to enter the SEC’s all-time top 10.
›› In 2019-20, Thompson had 22 double-doubles to lead the SEC and finish second overall nationally. She is the nation’s leading returner in double-doubles.
›› Thompson has averaged a double-double for two straight seasons and for her career, the first Auburn player to accomplish that feat.
›› Thompson is first among active SEC players in career double-doubles (as of Dec. 3).
UNIQUE LEADS THE WAY
›› In addition to being the SEC’s active career leader in double-doubles, Unique Thompson is the league’s active leader in career rebounds (918) and steals (148) and is third in career scoring (1,223).
›› Last season, Thompson was second in the SEC and 10th nationally in rebounding (11.4/game), led the SEC and was 8th nationally in offensive rebounds (4.4/game), and was third in the SEC and 15th nationally in field goal percentage (58.2%).
›› Auburn returns home for the first of four straight at Auburn Arena. The Tigers host Belmont at 6 p.m. CT Tuesday, Dec. 8.