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Auburn women crush Grambling 97-48 in season opener

Janiah McKay and Unique Thompsonboth recorded double-doubles as the Auburn women's basketball team posted its highest scoring output of the&...
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 Janiah McKay and Unique Thompsonboth recorded double-doubles as the Auburn women’s basketball team posted its highest scoring output of the Terri Williams-Flournoy era with a 97-48 victory over Grambling State Tuesday at Auburn Arena.
Led by 16 points from McKay and freshman Robyn Benton, Auburn (1-0) had six players in double figures, the first time for the Tigers to hit that mark since the 2008-09 season.
“Ten years later, we can find some scoring,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I thought we did a very good job tonight. It took us awhile. It may seem like our defense wasn’t really working because we weren’t able to turn them over right away. One thing about our press, we continue to wear teams down. That’s what we did – their point guard finally got tired and we were able to wear them down.”
Along with the 16 points from McKay and Benton, the Tigers got 15 points from redshirt junior Crystal Primmin her Auburn debut, 14 points from Thompson, and 13 each from Daisa Alexander and Emari Jones.
“We knew that we could put five people out on the floor that could score,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We didn’t know how much they could score, but we knew we could put five people on the court that could score. We’ve learned with Robyn Benton coming off the bench we can now add six to that. As you can see, Robyn Benton, our freshman, is not shy at all. We knew that we would be a better scoring offensive team this year. I still think that we can be even a little bit better.”
Thompson posted her eighth career double-double with a team-high 13 rebounds to go with her 14 points. And McKay recorded the second double-double of her career, notching 10 assists to go with her 16 points. It was the first time for Auburn to have two players with a double-double in the same game since the 2015-16 season when Tra’Cee Tanner and Brandy Montgomery pulled off the feat.
Auburn shot 53.5 percent from the field, scored 97 points and had 53 rebounds – all higher totals than in any game last season. The Tigers’ 97 points were the most of the Coach Flo era and the highest output since scoring 119 against Sam Houston State in 2008 – also the last time the Tigers had at least six players in double-figures.
Every player that dressed for Auburn scored. Sophomore Abigayle Jackson had four points along with five rebounds, and freshmen Kiyae’ White (3 points, 4 rebounds), Erin Howard (2 points, 3 rebounds) and Natalie Kelly(1 point, 1 rebound) found the stat sheet in their Auburn debuts.
After Grambling scored the first four points of the game and took a 6-3 lead, Auburn went on a 16-1 run over the next four-plus minutes to take a 19-9 lead. Grambling would get no closer than 9 points the rest of the way. Auburn ended the first half on a 12-0 run to take a 44-20 lead to the break.
Auburn continued to pull away, shooting 55.6% in the third quarter to increase their lead to 68-36. The Tigers hit the 90-point plateau at the 2:31 mark of the fourth quarter – their first time scoring 90 or more since the last time they faced Grambling, in 2014 – and saw its last seven points of the game scored by true freshmen.
Grambling’s Shakyla Hill led all scorers with 18 points.
Auburn is back in action Friday night at Auburn Arena, hosting Nicholls State at 6 p.m. CT in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. The game is part of another doubleheader with the Auburn men’s team, who hosts Washington at 8:30.