Auburn vs. Florida women’s basketball

Auburn's Robyn Benton (1) dribbles the ball past Florida's Brylee Bartram (22) during the teams' game Thursday in Auburn Arena. (Sara Palczewski/sarap@oanow.com)

Florida had a counterpunch every time Auburn took a swing.

And eventually Auburn ran out of shots.

Florida responded to Auburn’s runs, the Tigers struggled with a top scorer out of the game, and more problems on defense sunk the Auburn women’s basketball team in an 83-63 loss to Florida on Thursday night in Auburn Arena.

The loss dropped Auburn to 6-8 on the season and 0-3 in the SEC.

“We’re not going to beat anybody giving up 83 points,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said.

“Our defense is just horrible right now,” she added.

Auburn played without senior Daisa Alexander, who was out with an ankle injury, while fellow senior leader Unique Thompson failed to score in the first half in 10 minutes on the floor.

Florida led 42-31 at the half. Auburn trailed by as many as 12 in the second quarter, then charged back with a 7-0 run to cut the margin down to five points midway through the period — but Florida pushed right back to rebuild that lead by the break.

Thompson was out during that stretch with two fouls and having been tended to by a trainer during a timeout. Auburn scored all seven of its points in that run by way of underclassmen, with Thompson looking on and Alexander looking on nearby in street clothes.

But Auburn couldn’t sustain that play without the veterans. Sophomore Brooke Moore capped the run with a jump shot to make it 33-28 with 3:03 left in the second quarter, but Florida countered back with its own 7-0 run and ultimately finished the quarter outscoring Auburn 9-3 in those last three minutes and change.

Florida hit 62 percent of its shots from the floor and 66 percent of its shots from 3-point range in that first half.

After taking an 11-point lead into the half, Florida opened the third quarter with a 13-0 run to put the game away. The Gators led 55-31 before Auburn scored again in the third quarter.

Moore led Auburn with 14 points.

Despite early struggles, Thompson still finished with a double-double, with 10 second-half points to go with 10 rebounds.

Thompson entered the game averaging 17.5 points per game. Alexander came in scoring 13.9 per game.

With one of them out and the other scoreless for a half, Auburn didn’t have the firepower to match blows with Florida.

Thompson’s double-double did mark her 13th in 14 games this season.

“We really got on Unique at halftime, because I thought Unique let (Florida forward Zada Williams) just kind of push her around a little bit,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I didn’t really think she was working hard to get open. And then our guards, when she was open, they went away from her too quick.

“I thought she came back in the second half, listened a little bit more and continued to work inside like she’s very capable of doing.”

Auburn will look to rebound on Sunday against rival Alabama. The Tigers and Tide meet at 2 p.m. Sunday in Auburn Arena.

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