AUBURN, Ala. -- A strong defensive effort led the Auburn women's basketball team to a 53-45 win over Vanderbilt Thursday night at Auburn Arena, pushing the Tigers back to .500 in SEC play.
The Tigers (15-8, 5-5 SEC) beat Vanderbilt at home for the first time since 1999, snapping a nine-game home skid to the Commodores (15-7, 4-5). Auburn held Vanderbilt to a season-low scoring total, mostly thanks to forcing the Commodores into 29 turnovers.
"Vandy is a very good team and a very good 3-point shooting team, so I thought we did a very good job," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "They shot 3-for-17 from the 3-point line, and that was one of our major keys to success. Our ladies did a very good job at contesting their shots and being there on the catch. We forced them into 29 turnovers, which is hard because Vandy has done a very good job this season at taking care of the basketball.”
For the eighth time this season, Auburn forced its opponent into 25-plus turnovers, getting 29 from Vandy on the night. The Tigers are 8-0 this season when forcing opponents into 25 or more turnovers. Jazmine Jones and Janiah McKay each had four steals to lead the defensive effort.
Brandy Montgomery led the Tigers with 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting with eight coming in the fourth quarter, giving Auburn its biggest lead of the night at that point. She also hit a pair of clutch free throws late to help secure the victory. Katie Frerking added 11 points and a team-best four assists while Janiah McKay had nine points along with four steals and two assists.
Auburn shot 44.2 percent from the field and held the Commodores, the SEC's top-shooting team, to 35.6-percent shooting. The Commodores were also held to 3-of-17 from beyond the 3-point line, their lowest long-range percentage of the season.
An ugly third quarter in which the teams combined for 15 points led to a 31-29 Auburn lead headed to the fourth. But a 6-0 run to open the period - a jumper from Montgomery and two straight baskets off turnovers by McKay pushed the Tiger advantage to 37-29. Auburn hit 6-of-7 shots from the floor in the fourth quarter (85.7%) and hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold off a late Vanderbilt rally after the Tigers led by as many as 13.
Vanderbilt scored the first two points of the game, but the Tigers would go on a 6-0 run and never trail again. It was 24-21 Auburn at halftime, mostly thanks to a 60-percent effort from Auburn in the second quarter.
Jasmine Jenkins scored 13 points off the bench to lead Vanderbilt. The Commodores controlled the boards on the night, out-rebounding Auburn 38-17.
Auburn hits the road again Sunday when the Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama. Tip is set for 1 p.m. at Foster Auditorium.