AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn played its best defensive game of the season and had three players in double-digits as the Tigers downed Winthrop 76-33 in women's basketball action Wednesday morning at Auburn Arena.
In front of 2,429 fans - including more than 600 elementary school students - the Tigers (7-2) forced Winthrop (2-8) into 35 turnovers, the second time this season for Auburn to force an opponent into 30 or more. The 35 forced turnovers - which turned into 39 Auburn points - tied for the seventh-most in Auburn history.
"I thought our team came out and played with great effort right at the beginning, and that was one of the things that we talked about," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We watched some film, and I wanted them to see that that was not Auburn that played at Marquette, and everything that we did wrong at Marquette we needed to clean it up today. I thought they really did that this morning."
Brandy Montgomery led the Auburn offense with 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting, including a 5-of-12 day from 3-point range, and picked up her second five-steal day of the season. Katie Frerking matched Montgomery's 3-point shooting with a career-high five triples of her own on a 19-point day, and she also matched a career-high with six steals. And Tra'Cee Tanner fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Freshman Janiah McKay made her first start at point guard in place of injured junior Khady Dieng, scoring eight points with three assists. Jazmine Jones led the Tigers with six assists to go along with two points, four rebounds and three steals.
As a team, Auburn shot 45.5 percent for the game and held Winthrop to a season-low 23.5 percent. The Tigers out-rebounded the Eagless 40-35 and had 22 assists on 30 made field goals. Auburn recorded 20 steals, the second time this season and 16th time in program history to swipe 20 or more, and the Tigers finished with a season-high nine blocks - three from Tanner and two apiece from Frerking and Jessica Jones.
The Tigers also hit a season-high 11 3-pointers, the most in four seasons under Coach Flo.
"It’s funny, because our goal was not to take a lot of 3s," Williams-Flournoy said. "They obviously missed that goal. We knew Winthrop would play us in zone, and I really just didn’t want us standing out there shooting the 3. Brandy and Katie, when they are on, when they’re feeling it, they have to continue to shoot, and I thought both of them shot the ball well."
On a day where the outcome was never in doubt, Auburn's bench provided significant minutes with Jonika Garvin, Jessica Jones, Cabriana Capers and Bria Johnson seeing extended playing time. Capers (16) and Johnson (7) recorded season-highs in minutes played.
Auburn held Winthrop to single digits in all four quarters, giving up nine points in the first period and eight in each of the final three quarters. The Eagles hit the first shot of the game to lead 3-0 but never led again.
The Tigers led 44-17 at halftime, thanks in large part to forcing 17 Winthrop turnovers in the first half - 11 of those in the opening quarter. It was 63-25 after three quarters.
Auburn hits the road this weekend for a pair of games just outside Baltimore in Towson, Md. The Tigers will face Coppin State in a neutral-site game Saturday at 1 p.m. CT, then take on Towson at 1 p.m. Sunday.