Feb. 16, 2006
AUBURN - Auburn saw three freshmen score in double-figures for the fifth time this season, but cold shooting and turnovers sealed the Tigers' fate in a 58-46 loss to South Carolina Thursday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Auburn converted just 12 field goals in 42 attempts and surrendered 19 offensive possessions to turnovers in its first loss to the Gamecocks since the 2002-03 season.
"It was an ugly night," head coach Nell Fortner said. "We did nothing good offensively. It just wasn't a good night for us."
Auburn had just four players score and each of them managed double figures. Senior Nitasha Brown scored 13 points to lead the Tigers. DeWanna Bonner added 12 points to go with 11 rebounds and KeKe Carrier added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sherell Hobbs scored 11 points, six of which came from the free throw line. Auburn shot 30 free throws as a team, but could only convert on 18 attempts.
"You would think we would have a chance going to the line 30 times," Fortner said. "We just couldn't get the second one in on the one-and-one."
Auburn never led in the contest, only reaching a tie at 2-2 early in the game and coming within one point at the 12:50 mark of the second half. A pair of DeWanna Bonner free-throws cut the deficit to one, but South Carolina's Lea Fabbri answered on the ensuing Gamecock possession with a three. On South Carolina's next possession, Shanel Harris hit a jumpshot to extend the Gamecock lead back to six.
The largest South Carolina lead came later in the half when an Iva Sliskovic layup put South Carolina up by 13. The Gamecocks were led in scoring by Fabbri, who tallied 13 points and added six rebounds.
Auburn trailed by just three, 25-22, at the half after falling behind by as many as nine points in the opening frame. Trailing by eight with 5:18 remaining in the half, Auburn stopped South Carolina on four consecutive possessions before Nitasha Brown hit a three to trim the lead to five.
After two more stops by Auburn, KeKe Carrier hauled in the team's first offensive rebound of the game and put it back over the front of the rim to cut the Gamecock lead to three. Prior to Brown's three, the Tigers had been held without a point for more than five minutes.
Marita Payne blocked seven shots in the game and managed five rebounds. Her effort moved her into second place all time in the SEC for blocked shots in a career with 370. She is also now in 14th place all-time in the Auburn record books for rebounds in a career with 605.
DeWanna Bonner's and KeKe Carrier's double-doubles were the seventh and eighth double-doubles by freshmen this season. Bonner's double-double was the third of her career and Carrier's brought her career total to four.
Auburn returns to action in its final home game of the regular season vs. Florida on Sunday, Feb. 19. Before the game, Auburn will recognize seniors Marita Payne and Nitasha Brown. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.