NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Auburn overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit to pick up its third SEC win of the season, defeating Vanderbilt 64-59 in SEC women’s basketball action Thursday night at Memorial Gym.
It was the second comeback of 17 points for Auburn this season; the Tigers also rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Indiana on Nov. 27.
“Relentless. That’s all I can say,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “They’re just relentless. If there’s a will, there’s a way, and they’re going to find a way to win. That 14-4 run (in the third quarter) was all defense.
The Commodores (10-7, 0-4 SEC) led 45-28 with 5:27 to play in the third quarter, shooting 66.7 percent in the period. But aided by three straight Vandy turnovers, Auburn went on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to as few as five points, ending the third quarter down seven at 49-42.
Auburn was ice-cold from 3-point range until the final minutes, missing their first 13 attempts. But Montgomery hit her first with 6:24 to play to cut the deficit to four points at 53-49. Another trey from Montgomery two minutes later made it a one-point game at 55-54, and a 3-point play just 30 seconds later gave Auburn its first lead in 30+ minutes at 56-55.
Vandy would tie the game on two more occasions down the stretch, but Auburn would never trail again. Janiah McKay split the defense for a layup with just under a minute to go to put Auburn up 61-59, and Montgomery made three free throws in the closing seconds to ice it. Of Montgomery’s 16 points, 14 came in the fourth quarter.
Auburn forced Vanderbilt into 24 turnovers, converting those into 24 points – 17 of those points coming on 10 second-half turnovers. Frerking had three steals, while McKay, Erica Sanders and Jessica Jones had two apiece.
McKay finished with 13 points. Frerking led Auburn with eight rebounds while Jessica Jones had seven.
After 12 first-half turnovers, Auburn did not turn the ball over once in the second half. The Tigers shot 39.3 percent for the game but finished strong, shooting 50 percent in the fourth quarter.
Tied 13-13 at the end of the first quarter, Vandy went on an 8-0 run midway through the second and led by as many as 10. Auburn did not make a 3-pointer in the first half, and scored just seven points off 14 Vandy turnovers, leading to a 32-24 Commodore lead at the break.
Vanderbilt was led by Kayla Overbeck with 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
The Tigers have a weekend off from competition and return to action next Thursday, Jan. 19, hosting Tennessee. It’s the annual “All Auburn, All Orange” game and it will also be “We Back Pat” Night at Auburn Arena. Game time is 6 p.m., and tickets are available at AUBTix.com.