Auburn's season ends in first round of NCAA Tournament

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Derailed by offensive inefficiency for the final time the season, the Auburn women’s basketball team fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to North Carolina State, 62-48 on Friday afternoon in Austin, Texas.

The No. 11 seed Tigers shot an abysmal 25 percent for the game, led by Janiah McKay’s 12 points on 4 of 13 field goals. No. 11 North Carolina State was led by senior Dominique Wilson, who allotted 23 points for the day.

“We knew N.C. State was a very good team and that they could score,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We did a good job at times but we didn't do a good job enough to stop them from scoring. We struggled scoring as well, but we continued to play hard, and that's who we are. We were relentless all the way to the end.”

The Wolfpack turned in a low shooting mark as well, at only 38 percent, but flourished in the rebounding department. North Carolina State brought in 46 boards to Auburn’s 32 and shot a perfect 100 percent at the foul line. (15 for 15)

Auburn never seized much control of the game on either end, trailing for most of the 40 minutes. The Tigers only led early, as a pair of McKay free throws put the first points of the day on the scoreboard. Auburn scored only four points in the second quarter and trailed at the half, 32-16. The Tigers were held to only eight points in the third before exploding for 25 in the fourth.

Auburn forced 20 turnovers for the game, ending the year with 709 total, setting a school record for most in a season.

Brandy Montgomery was held without a point in her final appearance in an Auburn uniform, thanks to 0 for 8 shooting. Fellow seniors Khady Dieng and Katie Frerking scored five and nine points respectively. Auburn’s senior class will depart the Plains with an overall record of 69-61, along with two back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and one trip to the NIT.

Frerking finishes as Auburn’s leading scorer, posting 501 points, which averages to 15.7 per game. The Johns Creek, Georgia native also led Auburn in steals, blocks and rebounds, boasting 82, 32 and 203 respectively.

“I think it was an interesting season,” Frerking said. “It was a little bit of a roller coaster. We had some good wins, a lot of close games and some tough losses. It's a long season and that happens. But I'll say I've played here four years, and this is my favorite team I've ever played on here, because we are relentless.”

The loss pins the Tigers at 30-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament in their 20th trip to the big dance.  

“No matter what came against us, no matter what we faced, we always bounced back,” Frerking said. “We had 13, 14, 15 girls who just wanted to be out there, and we loved each other, and we just played hard. It was a good season. I'm proud of everybody.”

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