SAVANNAH, Ga. – A second straight double-double for senior Katie Frerking and a big run to open the fourth quarter helped push the Auburn women’s basketball team to a 54-40 win over Ball State Tuesday afternoon at the Savannah Invitational.
Auburn (4-0), off to its best start since the 2008-09 SEC Championship season, forced 27 turnovers, the fourth straight time forcing at least that many. A lean second quarter gave way to some big shots in the second half, and a 13-0 run to open the fourth quarter put the game away for the Tigers.
“We needed that,” Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said of the start to the fourth quarter. “We came out and were able to push a little bit. We wanted our point guards to come out and attack in the lane, and I thought Khady Dieng did a great job coming off the bench. Brandy was able to step into her shot and not just stand out there and shoot a 3.”
Frerking finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, a mirror-image of her 10-point, 13-rebound effort at East Carolina on Sunday. It was the fourth double-double of her career and the first time she’s picked them up in back-to-back games.
“That’s my goal every game,” Frerking said. “That’s a goal that Coach Flo and I have talked about, so hopefully they can keep coming.”
Brandy Montgomery led the Tigers with 15 points, and Janiah McKay added nine and a game-high five assists. Jazmine Jones and Dieng contributed five points each, and Jessica Jones pulled down a career-high nine rebounds.
Auburn shot 35.6 percent for the game, lowered by a dismal second quarter that saw the Tigers make just 3-of-16 shots from the field. That still outpaced the Cardinals’ 34-percent night, and both teams knocked down five 3-pointers.
The Tigers out-rebounded a taller Ball State team 39-34 with 19 of those coming from Frerking and Jessica Jones.
Auburn led 17-11 after one period, turning eight Cardinal turnovers into 10 points in the opening 10 minutes. But the Tigers went cold in the second quarter, missing their first 10 shots of the period as Ball State briefly took a 23-20 lead. But Tyra Johnson connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game with 3:43 left, and the Tigers would never trail again.
From Johnson’s 3-pointer through the midpoint of the third quarter, the Tigers went on a 17-2 run to take a 37-25 lead. Ball State cut the margin to eight at the end of the third, but Auburn opened the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 52-31 lead; over the first five minutes of the fourth, Frerking and Montgomery alone outscored the Cardinals 12-4.
“For us, it’s always defense,” Frerking said. “If we can get consistent stops and push the ball in transition, we know we can score. I thought we did a good job of ramping up the tempo when they got tired in the fourth quarter, getting some steals and some easy baskets.”
Ball State, which came in averaging 88 points per game, was held 48 points below their season scoring average. Moriah Monaco led the Cardinals with 11 points, but played limited minutes due to foul trouble in the first half. BSU leading scorer Renee Bennett, who had been averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds, was held to two points and four rebounds.
Auburn continues play in the Savannah Invitational Wednesday as the Tigers take on Marist at 6 p.m. CT. Marist fell to East Carolina 70-68 earlier Tuesday to drop to 0-5 on the season.
Airtime on FM Talk 95.9 will be 5:45 p.m. with Andy Burcham calling the action. Live audio will be available at AuburnTigers.com.