FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Tra'Cee Tanner had her fourth double-double of the season, but turnovers and a long scoring drought in the second and third quarters led to a 52-45 Auburn loss at Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday night.
The Tigers (10-3) were equal or better in most statistical categories on the night, out-shooting and out-rebounding FGCU (11-4). But Auburn turned the ball over 19 times, and the Eagles knocked down 10 3-pointers while only turning it over six times.
Tanner finished with 15 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, the most rebounds by an Auburn player since KeKe Carrier had 19 against Valparaiso on Dec. 28, 2010. It was the fourth double-double of the season and the 12th of Tanner's career.
The rest of the Auburn offense, however, was nearly non-existent as Tanner had seven of Auburn's 18 field goals. Freshman Janiah McKay had nine points, but no one else had more than six in Auburn's lowest-scoring game of the season.
The Tigers shot 40.0 percent (18-of-45), besting the Eagles' 32.1-percent night, but Auburn was 0-for-10 from 3-point range while FGCU knocked down 10-of-32 attempts beyond the arc. It was the first time for Auburn to fail to connect on a 3-point try since the 2014 WNIT third-round loss at Mississippi State.
Rebounding, however, was not a problem for the Tigers as they pulled down 43 and held FGCU to 23 boards on the night. Auburn turned 12 offensive rebounds into 11 second-chance points. The Tigers' trademark pressure defense, however, was not effective as the Eagles committed just six turnovers, the lowest of the season by an Auburn opponent.
The Tigers led 14-13 after one period, thanks to seven points from McKay and a cold-shooting FGCU team in the opening 10 minutes. Auburn, however, would score just six points in the second quarter and connect on just one field goal attempt in the final eight minutes of the period as FGCU took a 23-20 lead to the break.
The Eagles opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run and eventually led by as many as 13 midway through the third quarter. Auburn found some offense late in the quarter, but FGCU led 40-30 after three period. Auburn cut the lead to as few as six points midway through the fourth quarter, but tough man-to-man defense from the Eagles forced the Tigers into taking contested shots and several shot clock violations.
Taylor Gradinjan led FGCU with 16 points and DyTiesha Dunson added 14.
Auburn opens SEC play and the new year on Sunday, Jan. 3, as No. 7 Kentucky visits Auburn Arena. Tip is set for 2 p.m. CT with the broadcast on SEC Network +.