GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Auburn's Katie Frerking scored a game-high 18 points, but Florida took advantage of numerous opportunities at the free-throw line late to earn a 56-49 win over the Tigers Sunday at the O'Connell Center.
The Tigers (18-11, 8-8) converted just 6-of-16 chances at the free-throw line while Florida (22-7, 10-6) knocked down 28-of-35, including a 15-for-17 mark in the fourth quarter, to send Auburn to its third-straight loss.
Auburn will be the No. 9 seed in the SEC Tournament and will face eighth-seeded Missouri at 11 a.m. CT Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.
"We gave up 23 offensive rebounds. Shot 6-for-16 from the free-throw line. We hurt ourselves," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "They were just going to go get it. We kept screaming to box out, but we didn't. You can't win a basketball game if you don't rebound. As much as we stayed in it, it finally caught up with us. We stayed close, but we had some bad turnovers at the end and they capitalized off of those."
The Tigers forced Florida into 28 turnovers but committed 26 of their own. It was the first time this season for Auburn to lose when forcing 25+ opponent turnovers. Florida also controlled the boards, pulling down 45 rebounds to Auburn's 32. The Gators had 23 offensive rebounds in the game, converting those into 24 second-chance points.
Frerking led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Tra'Cee Tanner added 10 and a team-best seven rebounds, and freshman Janiah McKay scored nine points in returning to her hometown for the first time.
Florida shot just 25.5 percent from the field and made just six field goals in the second half, while Auburn had a 39.2-percent shooting day.
Auburn led throughout the second half - including a 43-38 lead in the fourth quarter - until the Gators tied the game at 43-43 on a three-point play with exactly 5:00 to play. The Gators' final 13 points would come at the free-throw line as Auburn committed five turnovers while taking just five shots over the final five minutes.
Auburn ended the first quarter on a four-minute scoring drought as the Gators took a 16-10 lead through 10 minutes. But Auburn opened the second period on an 11-4 run, leading by as many as five points before Florida closed the gap to 26-24 at the half. The teams combined for 33 turnovers in the opening half - 18 by Florida, 15 by Auburn - and the Gators kept it close thanks to 16 second-chance points on 14 offensive rebounds. The Tigers also struggled at the free-throw line, hitting just 2-of-8 attempts in the half.