AUBURN, Ala. -- Trailing by 17 with less than nine minutes to play, the Auburn women's basketball team mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback to earn a 71-67 victory over Indiana Sunday afternoon at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (6-1) scored 32 points in the fourth quarter -- 16 of them from senior Brandy Montgomery -- and went 11-for-12 at the free-throw line in the final period to put the Hoosiers (4-2) away in the closing seconds.
"You can't help but applaud our young ladies and their relentless effort that they had," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We went down by 17 at the start of the fourth quarter, and to come back and win it, that's just incredible."
After a dismal third quarter where Auburn scored a season-low nine points, Indiana led 56-39 with just over nine minutes to play in the fourth. But Montgomery took over down the stretch as the Tigers gradually chipped away at the lead. She hit a 3-pointer with 5:44 to play to cut the lead to single-digits at 60-52, then she scored 10 straight points over a two-minute stretch, tying the game at 63-all on a pair of free throws with 2:06 left.
After two misses by Indiana, Erica Sanders pulled down an offensive rebound from a Montgomery miss and knocked down a 5-foot jumper with 59 seconds to play to give Auburn its first lead since the first quarter at 65-63.
"I was screaming, 'No, no... Good shot, good shot,'" Williams-Flournoy said of Sanders' jumper. "I really wanted her to dribble it back out and she shot a little jump shot right there. It's almost deserving for her. She just plays so hard defensively. And she never looks to score, just never, and so for her to have the confidence to put that great rebound back in, I'm very proud of her."
Katie Frerking then grabbed her seventh steal of the day and was fouled in short order, giving Auburn a 67-63 lead when she made two free throws. Indiana answered at the other end twice in the final 20 seconds, but both times McKay made two free throw attempts to keep it a two-possession game, icing it with 1.2 seconds to play.
Montgomery finished with a season-high 28 points, and Frerking added a season-high 21 and matched a career-high with seven steals. Frerking was also Auburn's leading rebounder with six. McKay finished with 12 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 night at the free-throw line.
Auburn shot 46.2 percent for the game, its second-best mark of the season, including a 64.3-percent mark (9-for-14) in the fourth quarter. The Tigers were also a season-best 18-of-22 (81.8%) at the free-throw line. Auburn's 32 fourth-quarter points were the most scored by the Tigers in a single period since women's basketball went to a four-quarter game last season.
"Once we kept running the offense and attacking a little bit and getting to the free throw line, then the 3-point shot became a little easier," Williams-Flournoy said. "We weren't getting as many stops as we needed and we weren't defending as well as we needed all the time, so we needed to be able to step up and score."
Auburn forced a season-low 20 turnovers, but turned that into a season-high 33 points off turnovers. That was most pronounced in the fourth quarter where 17 of Auburn's 32 points came off eight Indiana turnovers. Auburn had a season-low 13 turnovers.
"It's funny. It's a season-low, but we scored the most points off of turnovers, so I'll take the season-low turnovers as long as we're scoring off those turnovers," Williams-Flournoy said. "That's (33) points off those turnovers. That's awesome."
Tyra Buss led Indiana with 23 points, while Karlee McBride had 11 and Amanda Cahill added 10.
Auburn hits the road again this week for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, where the Tigers will travel to Manhattan, Kan., to face Kansas State. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at K-State's Bramlage Coliseum.