Offensive execution powers Auburn past Tulane
AUBURN, Ala. - Honesty Scott-Grayson scored 18 points to lead Auburn to a 73-58 victory over Tulane in the first round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament Friday at Neville Arena, the Tigers' first postseason win since 2016.
Playing in what could be her final home game, the redshirt senior filled the box score with six rebounds, four steals, three assists and a blocked shot.
"I didn't want to take this for granted," Scott-Grayson said. "When I do get the chance and am blessed to be in a position that we're in, we have no choice but to give it our all and get the job done."
Freshmen Kharyssa Richardson and Sydney Shaw scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, while each grabbed six rebounds, with Richardson going 7 of 8 from the field.
Aicha Coulibaly scored 11 points and led Auburn with seven rebounds and six assists.
"Our game plan was to come out and impose our will and I think we did that," Auburn coach Johnnie Harris said. "Really proud of our team effort. Everybody contributed to this win. We're just going to keep pushing forward one game at a time."
Auburn ended the first quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 21-11 after the opening period. Richardson scored eight in the quarter on 4-of-5 shooting while Shaw added six points by making 3 of 4 shots.
"Staying in the gym to work on my shot," Richardson said. "And working with Coach D (assistant coach Damitria Buchanan), also."
Scott-Grayson extended Auburn's lead to 15 by scoring five points in 17 seconds on a 3-pointer, steal and layup.
Scott-Grayson made all three of her 3-point attempts in the first half to help Auburn lead by as many as 21 before the Green Wave used an 8-0 run to cut the Tigers' advantage to 44-29 at the half.
Auburn valued possessions, allowing only one turnover in the first half. The Tigers outscored Tulane 22-5 in points off turnovers, forcing 22 takeaways while committing only eight.
"We were making really good decisions, scoring off the turnovers we caused," Harris said. "I thought our team played hard and followed the game plan. They played together. Our chemistry was really good."
Tulane outscored Auburn 16-11 in the third quarter to pull within 10 at 55-45. Scott-Grayson drew a foul on a flashy reverse layup and added a free throw to account for the Tigers' first highlight after intermission. Auburn scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to regain momentum in the Tigers' first postseason appearance since 2019 and first WNIT trip since 2014. The victory clinched a winning record for the 2022-23 season.
Auburn (16-14) will play at Clemson Monday at 6 p.m. CT in the second round. The Tigers improved to 14-4 all-time in the WNIT, which Auburn won in 2003 in the program's first appearance.
"The more you can play, you get extra practices and extra games," Harris said. "The WNIT is tough. It was a really good test for us. It's helping this team grow up. This is the way we want to play. They gave me everything they had tonight."