GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Katie Frerking picked up her third career double-double, and the Auburn women's basketball team kept up the defensive pressure to remain unbeaten with a 61-52 victory at East Carolina Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers (3-0) led by as many as 18 late in the third quarter but went cold late, going the final 6:40 of the game without a field goal. As such, East Carolina (3-1) was able to cut the Auburn lead to single-digits in the final two minutes. But clutch free-throw shooting sealed the win for Auburn as the Tigers went 7-for-10 in the fourth quarter and 15-for-20 at the line for the game.
"We stayed at 56 points forever," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We had the scoring drought (in the fourth quarter), and it wasn't because we weren't getting good shots. We were getting good shots, we've just got to step up and knock them down."
Frerking recorded her third career double-double and Auburn's first of the season with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. She also added three assists, three steals and a block. Janiah McKay led Auburn with 17 points, including five key free throws in the fourth quarter, and Brandy Montgomery added 10 points.
"I'm glad (Janiah) came alive," Williams-Flournoy said. "We need her to score. If there's ever a night when Brandy or Katie aren't scoring, where's that scoring coming from? Janiah's playing a lot of minutes, so she's got to be able to score for us."
For the third straight game, Auburn forced 25-plus opponent turnovers with 30 giveaways by ECU. Those turned into 32 Auburn points, a season-high in points off turnovers. Auburn also out-rebounded the Pirates 37-31, dominating the offensive glass with 17 offensive boards that turned into 16 second-chance points.
"I was a little shocked that we had forced 30 turnovers," Williams-Flournoy said. "And we scored 32 points off those turnovers. That probably could have been more if we had made a few more layups."
The Pirates outshot the Tigers 46 percent to 34 percent, but the Tigers got up 20 more attempts than did the Pirates. ECU managed just 39 field goal attempts for the game.
Auburn led 28-20 at halftime on the strength of scoring 17 points off 18 ECU turnovers. The Tigers shot just 33 percent in the opening half to ECU's 44 percent, but Auburn took 17 more shots, thanks to the turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds. An 8-0 run to start the second quarter and another burst late in the period pushed Auburn to as much as a 10-point lead before two late ECU free throws cut the halftime deficit to eight.
The Tigers saw their lead balloon to as many as 18 points in the third quarter. A seven-point burst from junior Tiffany Lewis helped spark a 21-point third period for the Tigers, and Auburn held a 49-33 lead after 30 minutes of play.
Bre McDonald led East Carolina with 16 points, and Gabrielle Holston added nine.
Auburn will stay in Greenville tonight before traveling to Savannah, Ga., for the Savannah Invitational, which runs Tuesday-Thursday. The Tigers open the tournament at 3:30 p.m. CT Tuesday against Ball State, then face Marist on Wednesday and West Virginia on Thanksgiving Day.
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