GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico -- Led by 25 points and a pair of clutch 3-pointers from Brandy Montgomery, the Auburn women's basketball team overcame a furious Minnesota comeback to pick up an 81-79 overtime win Saturday night at the San Juan Shootout.
The Tigers (5-1) saw a 13-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter as Minnesota hit 9-of-14 shots (64.2%). Gopher star guard Rachel Banham, after setting the school scoring record earlier in the game, scored 11 of her 29 points in the final 10 minutes, hitting three huge 3-pointers to cut into the Auburn lead. After the Tigers could not get a shot off at the end of regulation, the game went to overtime tied 71-71.
In the extra period, the Gophers took their first lead since the first two minutes of the game. But Montgomery hit a huge 3-pointer with 2:30 to play to tie the game, then knocked down another with 48 seconds left to give the Tigers an 80-78 lead. After a Minnesota miss and a pair of fouls to send the Tigers to the line, Katie Frerking hit one of two attempts to put Auburn up by one.
A non-shooting foul then sent the Gophers to the line for two, but Auburn got the rebound on the miss and melted away the final six seconds to secure the victory.
It was Auburn's third-straight victory with all three coming over teams that participated in last season's NCAA Tournament. At 5-1, Auburn is off to its best start since the 2011-12 season.
Montgomery's 25 points gave her three games at 20-plus this season and boosted her season scoring average to 17.5/game. Tra'Cee Tanner followed up her double-double with a 16-point, nine-rebound night, and Katie Frerking was also one board shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Frerking also added a game-high six assists.
For the third-straight game, Auburn forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers, forcing exactly 20 by the Gophers and converting those into 27 points. The Tigers also pulled down a season-high 18 offensive rebounds and a total of 43 to Minnesota's 37.
The teams traded blows for much of the first quarter with Auburn taking a 16-14 lead after the first 10 minutes. But the Tigers turned up the defensive pressure, forcing nine Gopher turnovers and turning that into 10 points, taking a 42-33 lead at the half.
Auburn will have a week off from competition and will return to action next Saturday, Dec. 5, against East Carolina. Tip is set for noon CT at Auburn Arena.