AUBURN, Ala. -- Katie Frerking scored a career-high 26 points, and coach Terri Williams-Flournoy earned her 200th career head coaching victory as Auburn downed East Carolina 83-69 Saturday afternoon at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (6-1) improved on their best start in six years, using a smothering defense to force the Pirates (6-3) into 33 turnovers. Meanwhile, Auburn shot 52.5 percent from the field and topped the 80-point plateau for the fourth time in seven games.
Auburn built their lead outscoring the Pirates 27-9 in the second quarter, scoring 17 points off eight ECU turnovers in the period. In fact, after Tra'Cee Tanner went to the bench with her second foul with 3:25 left in the first quarter and ECU leading 18-11, Auburn finished the half on a 36-11 run.
“Definitely the best second quarter our team has played thus far this season," Williams-Flournoy said, "which I think really carried us over and got us the lead and everything else that we needed. Katie (Frerking) definitely stepped up when Tra’Cee (Tanner) went to the bench in foul trouble. I thought Jessica Jones came in and gave us some great minutes having Tra’Cee on the bench.”
Williams-Flournoy improved to 200-153 for her career, 57-49 in her fourth season at Auburn.
"It feels great," she said of her 200th career victory. "Like I said, it is my 200th, but it is also our players, Auburn players’ 200th win. It is awesome."
Frerking had equaled her previous career-high of 15 points by the end of the first quarter. She finished with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. She also had six steals, three rebounds, two blocks and two assists.
“I just tried to go out and relax and just play," Frerking said. "My shot hadn’t really been falling in the last couple games. So when I hit that first one it kind of opened me up. Then when Tra’Cee went out with foul trouble somebody had to step up. So I kind of took that role on."
Auburn tied a school record with 24 steals in the game, equaling a 24-steal game vs. Tennessee State in 2001. Montgomery's eight steals were the most for an Auburn player since Najat Ouardad had nine against Samford in 2012.
The 33 forced turnovers tied for the ninth-most in program history and the highest total under Williams-Flournoy. The last time Auburn forced more turnovers in a game was Dec. 22, 2011, when Central Connecticut State had 37.
Sophomore Jazmine Jones picked up her first career double-double with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 10 rebounds. Junior Brandy Montgomery continued her scoring streak with 23 points along with a career-high eight steals and five rebounds. And freshman Janiah McKay had her fourth double-digit scoring game of the year with 11 points.
It was a turnover-plagued game on both sides - 33 for East Carolina, 28 for Auburn - with the Tigers outscoring ECU on takeaways 38-28. ECU, however, controlled the offensive glass, scoring 23 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds. Overall, ECU had one more rebound than Auburn (38-37), but shot just 38.7 percent from the field.
Jada Payne led ECU with 23 points, and I'Tiana Taylor had 20 points and 14 rebounds.
After a break for final exams, the Tigers return to action Sunday, Dec. 13, as they travel to Milwaukee, Wis., to face Marquette.