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Neville Arena - Auburn, AL

Shaw, Collins lead Auburn past Alabama A&M

1 day ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn regained its winning ways Sunday, leading from start to finish in a 68-45 victory over Alabama A&M at Neville Arena.

"I thought we came out, played hard, set the tone defensively in that first quarter, and that's what we wanted to do," Auburn coach Johnnie Harris. "We wanted to get back to pressing. We wanted to ignite the offense."

Auburn improved to 8-0 all-time agains4t the Bulldogs, returning to form after back-to-back losses to California and Central Florida that followed three consecutive season-opening wins.

Leading by a dozen at the half, Auburn exploded for 24 points in the third quarter to take a 56-34 lead to the final 10 minutes, affording Harris an opportunity to distribute minutes throughout the roster.

"That last group that I had in there, they work hard every day," Harris said. "It was really important to get them in, get them some minutes and try to get their confidence up. They're getting better and better."

Fourteen Tigers participated with 10 scoring points, including Sydney Shaw's team-high 15, and 10 for Taylen Collins, who also grabbed 10 rebounds for her first Auburn double-double.

"Rebounding pushes my momentum a lot," Collins said. "I tried to focus on being active on the boards and let those points come to me."

Shaw's back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third quarter sparked an 8-0 Auburn run that put the Tigers on top by 20 points.

"When I hit the first one, the way it felt I knew I was hot so when I got the second one I was just excited," said Shaw, who made 3 of 6 long-range attempts. "I was wide open again, it felt great."

"She played tough, she stepped up," Harris said of Shaw. "She works hard in practice every day. It's good to see her being rewarded for that."

Collins' old-fashioned 3-point play extended Auburn's lead to 21 points at 47-26, the Tigers' fourth consecutive made field goal.

Celia Sumbane blocked a shot early in the fourth quarter and passed ahead to a sprinting Mar'shaun Bostic for a transition layup. Auburn legacy Audia Young followed with a jump shot for her first career points. Freshman Timya Thurman also scored for the first time as a Tiger.

The Tigers played without leading scorer Honesty Scott-Grayson, who's expected to return for Auburn's next game.

Auburn made 5 of its first 7 shots while taking a 21-9 after the first quarter. Collins led Auburn with five points and five rebounds in the opening period.

McKenna Eddings made Auburn's only 3-pointer in the first half, giving the Tigers a 24-11 lead.

Bostic made three of Auburn's 10 first-half steals, part of Alabama A&M's 18 turnovers in the first 20 minutes. She finished with four steals, five points, four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

"It definitely brings us close," Shaw said of her teammates' contributions. "Everybody's happy for the ones who got their first points today, to see them doing their thing because we see them working hard every day. It's a warm feeling."

Auburn (4-2) remains at Neville Arena, hosting Clemson Thursday at 8 p.m. CT in the ACC/SEC Challenge on SEC Network.

"It's a matchup we've been looking forward to," Harris said. "We'll have a good game plan together. We'll be ready."