By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn’s women’s basketball team had more field goals, more rebounds and forced more turnovers Sunday at Auburn Arena than did No. 10 South Carolina.
But South Carolina got the best of the parade to the free-throw line and escaped with a 72-66 victory.
Officials called 46 fouls, 27 of them on Auburn. The teams combined for 56 free throw attempts. The Gamecocks were 23-of-34 at the line and Auburn was 16-of-22.Tyrese Tanner, who led Auburn with 16 points, played just 23 minutes because of foul trouble and fouled out in the final seconds. FreshmanBrandy Montgomeryplayed 25 minutes because of foul trouble.
“They scored 72 and 23 were at the free throw line,” Auburn coachTerri Williams-Flournoysaid. “That’s a lot of points.”
Auburn led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but South Carolina rallied to tie it at 39-39 at halftime. In the second half, the Gamecocks shot just 16 times from the field and made 11 of them. Auburn also hit 11 in the second half but put up 31 shots.
South Carolina took its first lead at 47-45 with 16:44 left and did not trail again. Auburn pulled within four at 70-66 with 23 seconds left but could get no closer.
Tanner said the Tigers didn’t do what they needed to do after taking a big lead.
“I’m real disappointed because we didn’t execute everything we should have,” Tanner said. “I think we had too many breakdowns. If you look at everything we did, we outrebounded them, we turned them over 20 times. We just should have won the game. In the first half we proved we could beat them, and in the second half we just didn’t follow through.”
Tanner’s had to also deal with the frustration in sitting out almost half the game with foul trouble
“I don’t want to talk about officiating,” Tanner said. “We had some mistakes with reaching in. Some of the stuff I don’t agree with. I think we did well coming off the bench when Brandi and I weren’t in the game.”
Williams-Flournoy said her players have to stop committing what she called “dumb fouls.”
“You’ve got to know how the game is being called,” Williams-Flournoy said. “You have to move your feet and play defense. We’re committing dumb fouls.”
Auburn, losing its second straight, fell to 10-6 overall and 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina, led by Tiffany Mitchell’s 18 points, improved to 16-1 and 3-0.
Auburn goes on the road Thursday night to play Alabama in Tuscaloosa.