Terri Williams-Flournoy was chatting with Auburn baseball head coach Butch Thompson the other day, looking at the landscape over the Plains.
Williams-Flournoy is putting her trust in freshman point guards this season. Thompson can relate. He put the baseball in freshman pitcher hands several times last season. There’s a freshman quarterback trotting out there on the field in Jordan-Hare Stadium every Saturday night.
“As a head coach, you don’t sleep much when you’re thinking about it, because it’s such a crucial position for your team,” said Williams-Flournoy, as the Auburn women’s basketball head coach stepped aside the team’s practice Monday, getting set for the season opener tonight against Wofford in Auburn Arena.
Four-year contributor Janiah McKay has graduated and gone and tonight tips off a new era for the Auburn backcourt under ‘Coach Flo.’
“That’s has really just been, probably, the biggest thing that we’ve been having to make sure that we take care of this year,” she said.
Auburn will turn to freshmen point guards Lauren Hansen and Sania Wells this season to help run the Tigers’ offense as standout junior forward Unqiue Thompson leads a more experienced frontcourt — but it isn’t even that simple. Both of those freshman guards suffered preseason injuries and Auburn will have to play senior shooting guard Daisa Alexander at the point against Wofford.
Shooting guard Robyn Benton is also out with injury. But it’s only temporary. Auburn hopes to have a more clear idea of what the lineup will look like in its second game against Old Dominion closer to that game’s tipoff on Nov. 14.
“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s solidified and say we’ve got it all under control and everything,” Williams-Flournoy said about that ball-handler spot. “What we have under control is our defense. That, we do have under control. And I’ll tell you what: We can score.
“Putting Daisa at the point guard, I think that just gives you another person that can score at the point guard position.”
Alexander is Auburn’s leading returning scorer, having scored 12.6 points per game last season. Thompson scored 12.2 points per game. Auburn went 22-10 last year and earned its third NCAA Tournament berth in the last four years.
“We’re young, but you know, we have a lot to offer,” said Alexander — the team’s only senior. “We have a lot of different pieces.”
With Alexander at the point, Williams-Flournoy expects to start sophomore Brooke Moore at shooting guard tonight, with freshman Annie Hughes starting on the wing. Redshirt sophomore forward Kiyae’ White will start down low next to Thompson.
Tonight’s game against Wofford is set for a 6 p.m. tip.