Falling to 1-1 on the season, Auburn was led by senior All-American candidate Marita Payne, who scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds. Also in double figures for the Tigers were senior Nitasha Brown with 14 and freshman center KeKe Carrier with 12. All-American candidate Lindsay Shearer led Kent State with 38 points, including 11-12 from the free throw line.
"We have a very experienced ballclub and we had a lot of those players on the floor most of the game," Fortner says. "To be up by nine was great for us, but not to be able to hang onto it , we'll use it as a great learning tool."
Payne played one of her better career games in the loss.
Trailing 16-15 midway through the first half, Auburn fell behind even farther and the Flashes scored 11 straight points to build the lead as many as 12 before the Tigers began to claw back in the game. Putting the clamps on Shearer, the Tigers eventually cut the lead down to just five at intermission.
That gap became less and less with each passing possession in the second half as Auburn gradually built up a to a nine-point lead with just over three minutes remaining. That's when Shearer took over this game. Scoring nine of the game's eleven points, Shearer got Kent State back in the game and set the stage for the run in overtime.
Auburn led for much of the second half, but two free throws by Rachel Bennett with just 25 seconds remaining tied the game up and sent it to overtime. It was all Shearer in overtime for the Knights as she scored 10 of 11 points to seal the victory for the home team.
"Lindsay Shearer proved tonight that she is one of the best players in the country," Fortner says. "I thought Kent State did a nice job with their pressure defenses. It' bothered us and it was very apparent that we weren't going to be able to run our offense very effectively."
The Tigers return to action Tuesday night at 6 p.m. when they face Buffalo on the road.