AU Pastes Colgate; Dentist Daughter Sparkles

Auburn, Ala.--On a night when the Auburn women's basketball team pasted Colgate, it was only appropriate that a dentist's daughter led the way for the 14th-ranked Tigers.

Ruth Ketcham, a freshman point guard from Birmingham, hit 10-13 field goals, including 6-8 threes as a reserve who played just 19 minutes, as she scored 26 points in Auburn's 99-47 victory over the visitors from the Patriot League.

The Tigers improved to 9-0 in a game that wasn't as close as the score. Coach Nell Fortner substituted early and often as the Tigers jumped out to a 49-10 halftime lead vs. the Raiders, who fell to 1-7.

"The first time I shot the ball it felt good," said Ketcham, who noted that she didn't get a feel in pre-game warmups that she would have such a spectacular night shooting the basketball.

"The last time I had a game like this is when I had 31 points my senior year in high school when I was coming back from an injury," she said. "I think the game was against Parker."

The Auburn freshman from Briarwood Christian put on the show with her parents, brother and sister watching. Ketcham, who had scored just six points in limited playing time prior to Wednesday night's game, said she hoped that her performance will give Coach Nell Fortner a reason to put her on the court earlier and more often.

Fortner said she was impressed with her freshman guard's play. "It's been a long time since I have seen a shooting performance like that," the Auburn coach said. "It is fun to watch that. It is neat for everybody because everybody enjoyed it--not just Ruth, the whole team, the staff. It was fun to watch."

Auburn shot 57.6 percent from the floor while holding the visitors from upstate New York to 34.6 percent shooting. Auburn was 12-17 on threes and hit 11-16 free throws. The Raiders made 3-12 threes and 8-9 foul shots.

Auburn dozen three-pointers were a school record on a night in which the Tigers jumped out to a 19-0 lead to start the game. The previous high was 10 vs. Iowa State in 2001.

Each team had 33 rebounds. Auburn turned the ball over just nine times while forcing 26 for the Raiders to the delight of 1,005 fans at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Freshman guard Alli Smalley came off the bench to score 16 for the Tigers. DeWanna Bonner, who played just 15 minutes, scored 14 for the Tigers while Sherell Hobbs added 13 points for the Tigers.

"Everybody got some good playing time," said Fortner. "We need that. Our kids need game experience."

Auburn's 99 points were the most for the Tigers since scoring 101 vs. Northwestern State on Dec. 30, 2003.

The Tigers will take a 10-day break for exams before taking a road trip to play against their third nationally-ranked opponent this season vs. Texas A&M.

"They are ranked above us," Fortner said. "It is going to be a tough, tough environment. They haven't lost at home in two years and that's my old mentor, Gary Blair, who got me into coaching in college. I am looking forward to going back and playing him."

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