MIAMI -- Sophomore Brandy Montgomery's 20 points led five Auburn players in double-figures as the Tigers ran away from Florida International 81-44 on Monday in the opening game of the FIU Fun & Sun Classic.
Auburn (9-3) shot 55 percent from the floor for the game and held FIU (2-8) to 23.8 percent, the lowest of the season by an Auburn opponent. The win snapped a six-game skid in true road games, dating back to the end of last season.
The Tigers created their offense with their press, putting together a 34-2 run midway through the first half. Sixteen of those points came on the fast break as Auburn's defense forced FIU into 18 first-half turnovers. The Panthers had 27 turnovers for the game with Auburn collecting 20 steals.
"The one thing we kept emphasizing was not to let up," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We've been bad about letting up on people, but I thought we did a really good job. Even though we pulled the press off (in the second half), I thought we did a very good job in the halfcourt defensively."
Montgomery scored 20 points in 20 minutes - her second 20+ point effort of the season - on 10-of-16 shooting. She also recorded a career-high five steals - all in the first half - with three of those leading directly to transition layups.
Four other Tigers hit double-digits on the night. Katie Frerking had a season-high 12 points on a perfect 6-of-6 night from the field and shared the Auburn lead with six rebounds. Hasina Muhammad contributed 12 of her own along with four steals and four blocks. Sophomore Khady Dieng and freshman Neydja Petithomme posted 10 points each; Petithomme also had a career-high eight assists and Dieng had four assists and three steals.
It marked the first time for Auburn to have five players in double figures since a win over Old Dominion in last season's WNIT.
Auburn outscored FIU in the paint 58-20 and scored 34 points on turnovers to FIU's 4. The Tiger bench outscored the Panthers 33-13.
FIU jumped out to a 12-6 lead as Auburn missed 10 of its first 13 shots. But the Tigers would convert on 16 of their next 21 attempts from the floor, putting together a 37-9 run over the final 12 minutes of the half to take a 43-21 lead at the break. Montgomery scored 14 points in the first half and had a career-high five steals by halftime.
FIU out-rebounded the Tigers 45-41. The Panthers were led by Kiandre'a Pound and Destini Feagin with 10 points each.
Auburn will play its final non-conference game of the year Tuesday as they will face either Hampton or Bowling Green at 2:30 p.m. CT at FIU Arena. Andy Burcham and Brit Bowen will have the radio broadcast on 94.3 FM WGGZ and online at AuburnTigers.com.