AUBURN, Ala. -- Junior Brandy Montgomery scored 24 points and freshman Janiah McKay added 20 points with seven assists in her collegiate debut to lead Auburn to an 85-71 win over UAB in Friday's season-opener at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (1-0) won their season opener at home for the 25th straight time behind a second-half surge that saw Auburn shoot 61.1 percent over the final 20 minutes.
“I thought in the second half the energy level was much better,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “It is to be expected playing your first game. They have to get the jitters out because we haven’t played in a while. They have to get used to being back on the floor. We have a few people playing different positions. Once we got all of the cobwebs out, we were much better in the second half. (Tra’Cee Tanner) went beast mode like she should have.”
Montgomery went 10-of-19 from the floor, hitting four 3-pointers on the night. Freshman McKay added 20 points and a game-high seven assists in an impressive collegiate debut. The Gainesville, Fla., native was also a presence at the free-throw line, going 5-for-7.
Tanner recorded a double-double, the ninth of her career, with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds, and junior Katie Frerking went 4-for-10 from 3-point range for 12 points and added a game-high three steals.
Auburn scored 40 points in the paint, led by Tanner’s 16.
Auburn started the game on a 7-0 run before UAB heated up from behind the arc, hitting four opening-period 3-point attempts to tie the score at 18 at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers and Blazers exchanged leads in the second quarter, culminating with UAB’s Chelsee Black, who led the team with 22 points, hitting a 3-point shot with 0:02 left on the clock to give UAB a one-point halftime lead at 36-35.
The game took a turn in the Tigers’ favor in the third and fourth periods as Auburn found their mark, hitting a sizzling 61.1 percent (22-36) from the floor. A 14-0 run spanning the final minutes of the third quarter and the start of the fourth proved to be the difference as UAB got no closer than seven points for the remainder of the game. Montgomery was the spark that ignited the run, scoring seven points in that span.
Auburn shot 53.1 percent for the game while holding the Blazers to 47.3 percent. Auburn forced UAB into 17 turnovers while committing just nine of their own. The Tigers had one more rebound than the Blazers as well.
The Tigers improved to 10-0 under Coach Flo when scoring at least 80 points and 18-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor.
Auburn is back in action Monday, Nov. 16, as they travel to Hammond, La., to face Southeastern Louisiana. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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