AU Ends Season at Kansas State in WNIT

The Auburn women's basketball team couldn't advance past round three of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.

Manhattan, Kan.--Kansas State built a big early lead and held off a late run to end Auburn's basketball season in the quarter-finals of the Women's National Invitational Tournament with a 67-54 victory over the Tigers.

Trailing by as many as 29 points in the second half on Sunday, the Tigers cut the margin to 11 with 6:40 left on a basket by sophomore center Keke Carrier.

A pair of free throws by sophomore point guard Whitney Boddie narrowed the gap to 58-49 with 3:07 remaining, but that was as close as the Tigers could get.

Whitney Boddie drives vs. the Kansas State defense.

Auburn dug itself into a major hole in the first half. Kansas State shot 48.3 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes compared to Auburn's 25.9 percent. With KSU hitting seven three-pointers in the first half, the home team enjoyed a commanding 37-18 lead at intermission.

Auburn coach Nell Fortner credited Kansas State for playing well offensively while building the big lead, but said the Tigers had a lot to do with that. "Their three-point shot was dropping, but we played no defense," she said. "Our man defense was not very good and we couldn't get matched up with them in our zone and that just killed us in the first half."

Carrier came off the bench to lead Auburn in scoring with 11 points and helped spark the second half run. DeWanna Bonner and Sherrell Hobbs each scored nine points for the Tigers and Boddie added seven.

Fortner said it was a "pride" issue that sparked the comeback as a crowd of 2,717 watched the Tigers struggle. "We were better than what we were showing," he stated. "We decided to take it to them and pressure the ball a little more full court and Whitney really bothered that point guard. That allowed us to get a few steals and transition baskets and then we started feeding off that. Then Keke came into the game and did some nice things for us inside. That was the bright spot."

Kansas State freshman forward Ashley Sweat led all scorers with 21 points, doubling her scoring average. She hit 8-14 field goals including 3-4 treys. Kimberly Dietz, a 5-9 junior guard, added 19 points.

For the game the Tigers shot 39.6 percent while Kansas State cooled in the second half to finish at 41.4 percent from the field. The Wildcats made 9-22 threes while Auburn hit 2-4.

At the foul line the home team made 10-15 shots while the Tigers hit 10-13.

KSU out-rebounded Auburn 34-33 and Auburn had 13 turnovers, one less than the Wildcats.

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