AUBURN, Ala. -- A season-high 28 points from junior Brandy Montgomery helped lead the Auburn women's basketball team to an 88-59 win over George Mason on Wednesday night at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (10-2) head into the Christmas break with 10 wins for the first time since the 2012-13 season and will have one more non-conference game - Dec. 30 at Florida Gulf Coast - before SEC play begins in January.
The Tigers found themselves behind by one after the first quarter as George Mason shot 72.7 percent in the opening 10 minutes. But from that point forward, the Tigers shot 65.8 percent over the final three quarters and outscored the Patriots by 30 points.
“After the first quarter, we got our defense together and didn’t allow them to shoot with as high of a percentage as they did [in the first quarter]," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "Once our young ladies put their foot on the pedal, they kept it on the pedal. Our rotation was very slow in the first quarter. I thought our rotation got better after the first quarter and throughout the game.”
Montgomery's 28-point night on 10-of-16 shooting (6-of-10 on 3-pointers) was the highest scoring output for an Auburn player this season and was her eighth time in 12 games with 20 or more points this season. Over an eight-minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters, she knocked down seven straight field-goal attempts - including five 3-pointers - and scored 21 of her 28 points in that span.
“I just got hot," Montgomery said. "Katie Frerking did a great job of finding me because she’s a shooter as well, so she knows that once you’re on, you have to keep giving it to the hot hand. I think Katie did a great job of finding me once she saw that I was on.”
The Tigers also kept up their defensive pressure, forcing George Mason (5-7) into 30 turnovers, turning those into 40 points. That marks three straight home games for Auburn to force 30 opponent turnovers - 30 tonight, 33 against East Carolina and 35 versus Winthrop.
“I am always happy when I see double-figures in turnovers," Williams-Flournoy said. "I’m even happier when we score 40 points from turnovers. We haven’t always scored off of turnovers, but this time we did.”
Auburn led 45-32 at the halftime break, thanks in large part to a flurry over the final three minutes. Leading by just three with 3:18 to play, the Tigers closed on an 11-3 run that included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Montgomery. George Mason would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Tra'Cee Tanner scored 17 points on a 7-of-9 night from the floor, and she was a perfect 3-for-3 at the free-throw line. Frerking added 15 points while Janiah McKay turned in a 14-point night. Cabriana Capers was Auburn's leading rebounder off the bench, pulling down seven.
The Tigers shot 54.0 percent for the game and hit 9-of-21 3-point attempts (42.9%) while holding Mason to a 44.0-percent night; 35.7 percent over the final three quarters. Auburn recorded 18 assists and 18 steals and out-rebounded the Patriots 31-30.
Taylor Brown led Mason with 14 points while Wright added 10.