The Tigers shot a 29-over-par 317 in windy conditions on Tuesday and are tied for ninth place with Pepperdine.
Southern Cal, who came into the event ranked No. 1 in the nation, shot a 17-over-par 305 to lead the event going into day two.
A pair of seniors led Auburn. Celeste Troche and Danielle Downey shot rounds of 76 and are four strokes off the lead. Downey is making a comeback after missing the qualifying tournament with a wrist problem. Duke's Virada Nirapathpongporn and Oklahoma State's Annie Thurman are tied for the individual lead at even par 72.
Danielle Downey has been a key performer for the Tigers for four seasons.
Junior Diana Ramage shot an 81 and is tied for 64th for the Tigers. Freshman Maria Martinez shot 84 to tie for 92nd place while sophomore Kingsley Barrett's 87 did not count in the team score, which is the total of the four best rounds among five competitors.
"I am happy with the way we played," Auburn Kim Evans said. "It was extremely windy, but we handled it pretty well. Celeste and Danielle showed a lot of guts with the way they played. They had remarkable rounds. This is a four-day, 72-hole tournament so there is still a lot of golf to be played. That is the way we need to look at it."
Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State is in second with a 308 total, three shots behind Southern Cal. No. 12 Ohio State is third with a 309 followed by No. 8 Florida (313), No. 12 UCLA (314), No. 2 Pepperdine (315), No. 20 Purdue (316), Stanford (316), No. 3 Auburn (317), No. 5 Texas (317), No. 9 Arizona (318), No. 16 South Carolina (318), No. 1 Duke (318), No. 17 Georgia (320), Nebraska (320), Arizona State (320), No. 7 California (321), No. 23 North Carolina (321), No. 11 Vanderbilt (321), Kent State (324), No. 19 Tulsa (329), No. 24 Florida State (329), Wisconsin (340) and Washington State (343).
The Tigers will tee off at 8:50 a.m. on Wednesday along with the host team, Purdue, plus Pepperdine.