Returning to the city where she forged her reputation as a head coach, Terri Williams-Flournoy collected the 150th victory of her career after the Auburn women’s basketball team held off George Washington, 69-59, on Wednesday night at Smith Center.
Williams-Flournoy was in the District for the first time coaching a team other than Georgetown, which she guided to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. She left for Auburn in April following eight seasons with the Hoyas, and in her second stint as a head coach, Williams-Flournoy has been entrusted with rebuilding the program at Auburn after the traditional Southeastern Conference power fell on lean times.
So far the Tigers (7-2) appear on course, thanks to performances such as Wednesday’s. Sophomore guard Hasina Muhammad finished with career highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds and senior forward Blanche Alverson scored 14 points to give Auburn its fourth consecutive win and sixth in seven games.
“What a better place to get it than here, back home in Washington, D.C.?” Williams-Flournoy said of her milestone, which unfolded in front of such supporters as Hoyas first-year Coach Keith Brown, who had served as her top assistant. “It makes you feel exactly what we brought here to Georgetown. It was family. We always had family first, one team, one family, one goal.”
George Washington (4-5) did its best in the second half to prevent the rousing celebration in the visitor’s locker room, erasing a 16-point deficit in the second half to tie the game at 41 with 12 minutes 58 seconds to play. The Colonials also got within one point with 4:48 to play, but they failed to score from the field the rest of the way in dropping their third in a row and fourth in five games.
Senior forward Megan Nipe led George Washington with 13 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range, and senior forward Shi-Heria Shipp added 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds before fouling out with 43 seconds remaining in the game.
The Colonials also got double figures from graduate student Tara Booker (11 points) and freshman Aaliyah Brown (10), but could not overcome 23 turnovers and shooting 32 percent, including 29 percent in the first half when Auburn built a 35-21 lead shortly before intermission.
Down 41-25 two minutes into the second half, George Washington stormed back on the strength of a 16-0 run that featured three consecutive three-point field goals, including back-to-back makes from Nipe. Four foul shots in a row evened the score before the Tigers countered with a 10-2 burst.
Then the Colonials clawed back again, this time using a run that included two three-pointers from Booker. Sophomore guard Chakecia Miller’s basket trimmed the margin to 58-57, but Auburn clamped down defensively down the stretch to preserve its second straight victory by double digits.
“I think that really is a sign our team is growing as a whole,” Booker said of George Washington’s multiple comebacks in the second half. “That’s where we’ve had issues and problems before. We get down into a little slump, and we kind of put our heads down and walk away and kind of back down, but I’m really proud of my team for staying in there.”
●PENN STATE 60, VIRGINIA TECH 41: Maggie Lucas scored 17 points and Mia Nickson had a double-double as the No. 11 Lady Lions won the nonconference game in Blacksburg, Va.
Lucas was 7 of 9 from the field for Penn State (8-2), coming off a career-high 39 points in Penn State’s 97-74 win over Georgetown on Sunday.
Monet Teller led the Hokies (4-4) with 18 points, including an 8-of-9 showing from the foul line.