Commodores Fall in Final Seconds

Pair of free throws lift Auburn past Vandy in regular-season finale

AUBURN, Ala. — Ciaja Harbison scored a game-high 27 points, including the game-tying jumper with 34 seconds remaining, as Vanderbilt staged a furious rally against Auburn that fell just short in the final game of the regular season on Sunday afternoon.

Honesty Scott-Grayson made two of three free throws with four seconds left after being fouled on a 3-point attempt and Auburn held on to beat Vanderbilt 78-76 at Auburn Arena.

Vanderbilt (12-18, 3-13 SEC) trailed by 13 points midway through the fourth quarter before mounting a comeback. The Commodores launched an 11-0 run in the final five minutes, capped by Harbison’s jumper off an assist from Bella LaChance to tie the game. On the play before, LaChance drew a charge on Scott-Grayson to give Vandy possession of the ball and the chance to even the score.

But Scott-Grayson was fouled as she attempted a 3-point attempt with the game clock winding down and Vandy couldn’t get off a final shot.

Harbison was 9 of 15 from the field and dished out a game-high seven assists. Sacha Washington had 14 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double in four games. Marnelle Garraud added 17 points for Vandy before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Scott-Grayson led Auburn (15-13, 5-11 SEC) with 15 points and six assists. Aicha Coulibaly scored 14 points on 4 of 18 shooting.

After the teams went back and forth exchanging baskets to start the game, Auburn used its defensive pressure to spark a 9-0 run to build a 21-13 lead in the first quarter.  The Auburn lead grew to 11 points at the start of the second quarter before Vanderbilt began to chip away. The Dores got more aggressive on offense, drawing fouls and converting free throws while Auburn went cold from the field.

Washington completed two traditional three-point plays on baskets inside to give Vanderbilt a two-point lead twice in the final minute. Harbison capped the half by driving the length of the court, dribbling behind her back to gain separation and nailing a pull-up jumper at the buzzer for a 42-38 halftime advantage for Vandy.

Vanderbilt finished the first half on a 12-3 run. The Dores were 14 of 16 from the free throw line in the first half, including 10 for 10 in the second quarter.

Washington expanded Vandy’s lead to seven points with a layup early in the third quarter. The teams traded roles midway through the quarter with Auburn earning opportunities at the free throw line to rally. The Tigers pushed back in front at 56-55 after six free throws and carried a 64-62 lead into the fourth quarter.

Auburn opened the final frame on a 7-0 run and took its largest lead of the game at 13 points with 5:26 remaining. As they have done all season, the Dores battled to the very end but suffered another close SEC road loss.

Player Notes
• Harbison has scored in double digits in 23 games this season
• It was the seventh time this season that she has scored at least 20 points and dished out at least five assists in the same game.
• Garraud has made multiple 3-pointers in nine of the last 10 games and has reached double figures in scoring 65 times in her career.
• Washington scored in double figures for the 18th time this season. She has six double-doubles this season, with five coming in SEC play.
• Demi Washington recorded a career-high tying four steals.

Series History
Vanderbilt’s lead in the all-time series narrowed to 30-25. The Dores dropped to 10-12 on the road against the Tigers. Auburn has won nine of the last 10 games in the series.

Up Next: Vanderbilt begins play in the SEC Tournament at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greeneville, South Carolina. The Commodores are the No. 12 seed in the event and will play No. 13 Texas A&M in the first round on Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT (SEC Network).