AUBURN, Ala. -- Katie Frerking scored 16 points, but Auburn could not dig out of a big early hole in a 73-47 loss to No. 5 South Carolina Thursday night at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (11-5, 1-1 SEC) outscored the Gamecocks (12-1, 2-0) 33-29 through the second and third quarters. But Carolina's Kaela Davis hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the first quarter to push the Gamecocks to an early 23-point lead that proved insurmountable for the Tigers.
"South Carolina is very good," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "I think the way we started the game, they didn't want to start that way. (We) came in very confident. But when they hit you right away, you step back a little bit. We stepped back too far. Then when we came back in the second quarter and regrouped, then we have to sit down and play. But you can't get down that far.
"I thought we got good shots. I screamed at Katie a few times to take some shots, but I thought we got good shots. We got more shots than they did. We just have to be able to calm down and shoot them. I thought that a few times, because of their length, we shot it too quick, we thought they were going to block it. You know, if we had just calmed down and made some shots, it would have been a lot better."
Despite a major size disadvantage, Auburn only grabbed five fewer rebounds than Carolina (37-32). The Tigers pulled down 17 offensive rebounds, turning those into 12 second-chance points. Auburn also forced South Carolina into 15 turnovers, all in the final three quarters, converting those to 15 points.
Auburn was held to a season-low 27.6 percent from the field and was 3-of-15 from 3-point range. South Carolina was an even 50 percent overall (28-of-56) and from 3-point range (14-of-28). Carolina's 14 3s were the most by an Auburn opponent this season.
After trailing by as many as 25, Auburn outscored the Gamecocks 19-12 in the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to 41-25. Auburn would get as close as 14 points in the third quarter, but the Gamecocks pulled away late.
Davis led the Gamecocks with 21 points, all in the first half. A'ja Wilson picked up her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Bianca Cuevas-Moore added 19 points and seven assists off the bench.
Auburn plays its second straight home game Sunday as Ole Miss visits Auburn Arena. Game time is 3 p.m. with the broadcast on SEC Network, and tickets are available at the door or by visiting AUBTix.com.