Photography: Wade Rackley

Cold-Shooting Auburn Loses NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Opening Round Game

North Carolina State took control early and was never seriously challenged by Auburn on Friday in Texas in the opening round of the NCAA women's hoops tournament.

Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy (above) saw her team struggle late in the season.

Austin, Tex.-- Auburn's trip to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament was a short one as two issues from the regular season resurfaced in a 62-48 loss to North Carolina State on Friday.

Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy’s Tigers were dominated on the boards, finishing with 32 rebounds while the Wolfpack pulled in 46.

Compounding the problem was horrible shooting by the Tigers. Auburn hit 15-61 field goals (24.7 percent) and made just 2-17 three-pointers. The free throw shooting was fine (16-20), but the other issues were too much to overcome.

Trailing 11-9 at the 4:27 mark of the first quarter, Auburn’s shooting went into a deep freeze. Over the next 19 minutes and 10 minutes the Tigers managed to score only eight more points and fell behind by 34 points.

Sophomore point guard Janiah McKay was Auburn’s lone double figures scorer with a dozen points. The team’s top scorer, Katie Frerking, finished with nine points and the No. 2 scorer, Brandy Montgomery, was 0-8 from the field and did not score in 29 minutes.

"I  think we weren't as aggressive as we should have been at times," Frerking said. "We weren't rotating like we should have been, and it's tough when we can't get our press set up like we wanted to s I think that was a little bit of an issue. I will give them credit. They did a great job of handling it, at times, but we needed to pick up our aggressiveness a little bit.

"I think we just couldn't get shots to fall," Frerking said. "Our offense got a little bit stagnant. We were standing around, not cutting hard. I thought we got looks at times. We just couldn't get it to fall."

Auburn's coach said the Wolfpack did a good job against her team's defensive pressure. "You're looking at four experienced point guards, four seniors.," she said. "It's very hard to rattle them. They've been through a lot, and they did a very good job. They spread us out a little bit, but just like Katie said, N.C. State gets kudos for taking care of the basketball."

Dominque Wilson, a senior guard, led the Wolfpack with 23 points.

North Carolina State hit 20-53 field goals (37.7 percent), 7-28 threes and 15-15 free throws.

It was a little bit of a roller coaster," Frerking said of her senior season. "We had some good wins, a lot of close games and some tough losses, and 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.

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

Auburn, which made a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, won its opening round game last year before falling to No. 1 seed Baylor. The 2016-17 squad finished its season with a 17-15 record. North Carolina State advances to the second round with a 23-8 record.

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