COLUMBIA, S.C. – Auburn held No. 6 South Carolina to its lowest scoring output of the season, but the Tigers came up short in a 60-41 loss to the Gamecocks Thursday night in SEC women’s basketball action at Colonial Life Arena.
The Tigers (15-10, 5-6 SEC) could not overcome poor shooting through the first three quarters, and avoided a season-low shooting percentage by posting a 71-percent fourth quarter. Meanwhile, South Carolina (21-2, 11-1 SEC) took advantage of their massive edge in size, scoring 34 of its 60 points in the paint.
“We did as well as we could defensively,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “They’re huge inside. There’s not a lot you’re going to do with that. But a lot of times (offensively) we started to rush. We didn’t run the offense, we didn’t come off screens, we were just running as fast as we could instead of setting our defender up so our shooters could be open.”
Katie Frerking led the Tigers with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Freshman Tyra Johnson added a career-high 10 points on a career-most 19 minutes, hitting a pair of 3-pointers as well. Seven of Auburn’s 14 made field goals were 3-pointers. The Tigers’ bench scored 19 points as Tiffany Lewis added five and Emari Jones had four.
Auburn trailed by just five after one period, 14-9, despite shooting just 25 percent in the opening 10 minutes. But the Tigers stayed cold in the second quarter, making just 2-of-12 shots and trailed 29-16 at the break.
The Gamecocks, however, broke things open early in the third quarter, hitting their first six shots and putting together a 14-5 run to extend the lead to 43-21. Carolina’s largest lead would be 25 points, but Auburn outscored the Gamecocks 16-11 in the fourth quarter to cut the final margin under 20 points.
Carolina’s post players led the way as A’ja Wilson scored 17 points and Alaina Coates had 16. The Gamecocks shot 56.8 percent from the floor, a season-high by an Auburn opponent.
The Tigers return to the friendly confines of Auburn Arena Sunday to host Georgia at 2 p.m. It’s the annual “Play4Kay” Pink Game; fans are encouraged to wear pink. Tickets are available at the box office or by visiting AUBTix.com.