Frerking’s double-double leads Tigers past No. 16 Florida, 80-58
AUBURN, Ala. – Katie Frerking’s second career double-double led four players in double figures, and the Auburn women’s basketball team pulled away in the second half for an 80-58 win over No. 16 Florida Sunday at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (18-8, 8-5) won their fifth straight game in SEC play and moved into a virtual tie for third place in the SEC standings with three games remaining. It was Auburn’s second win over a nationally ranked opponent this year, the first time for the Tigers to accomplish that feat since the 2009-10 season.
After a back-and-forth first half saw Auburn emerge with a 48-43 lead – the highest-scoring combined half in an Auburn game this season – the Tigers’ defense stood tall in the second half and held the Gators to a season-low 15 points.
“The big difference in the game was that we gave up 43 points in the first half to Florida, and in the second half we only gave up 15,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “That was the game right there. We were scoring. Our offensive game was at its best, but I told them at halftime that we had given up 43 points and we needed to do a better job defensively.”
Frerking scored 18 points along with 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. It was the second double-double of her career, the first coming against Texas A&M in last season’s SEC Tournament. She was 7-of-14 from the floor and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. Frerking has averaged 19.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists in the Tigers’ last three games.
Brandy Montgomery added a 16-point effort – all coming in the first half – as she knocked down four 3-point attempts in the early going. Tra’Cee Tanner added 12 points, and Khady Dieng scored a season-high 10 off the bench along with two assists and two steals.
Florida jumped out to a 15-5 lead in the first five minutes, but the Tigers closed the quarter on a 17-2 run to take a 20-17 lead after the first period. The teams then traded leads 16 times in the second quarter before Auburn went ahead 42-41 on a pair of Montgomery free throws with 2:15 to play. The Tigers then scored twice in the final 10 seconds as Jazmine Jones hit a layup and McKay got a steal in the backcourt and scored as time expired to give the Tigers a 48-43 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Auburn controlled a defensive struggle as it held Florida to just two field goals and outscored the Gators 9-5 to take a 57-48 lead to the fourth. In that fourth period, the Tigers exploded and never let the Gators any closer than 11 points as they pulled away.
“We were boxing them out because they were hurting us a little bit on the offensive boards,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We were getting out to shooters and we were just flying all over the floor. When we are flying all over the floor, it is hard to get any balls past us.”
Auburn shot 47.0 percent from the field and held Florida, the SEC’s highest-scoring team at 80.5 points per game, to 42.3 percent shooting. The Tigers forced the Gators into 21 turnovers while committing just 10 themselves, a season-low in SEC play. Each team finished with 35 rebounds. It was Auburn’s first regular-season win over Florida since 2011.
The Gators (19-6, 7-5 SEC) were led by Ronni Williams with 16 points and Carlie Needles with 15.
Auburn will have an off day in SEC play this week before returning to action next Sunday, Feb. 21, as the Tigers host Missouri at 2 p.m. It will be Senior Day at Auburn Arena as Tra’Cee Tanner and Cabriana Capers are honored in pregame ceremonies.