AUBURN, Ala. -- Sophomore Brandy Montgomery scored a career-high 30 points to lead Auburn to an 80-73 victory over Alabama on Sunday at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (12-17, 3-13 SEC) concluded the regular season with their third-straight win and earned the No. 13 seed in this week's SEC Tournament in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Auburn will face 12th-seeded Florida in the tournament's opening game at 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, which will be televised on SEC Network.
"I think our young ladies just played really well tonight," Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "We forced Alabama into 24 turnovers, and more importantly, we scored 30 points off of those turnovers. That's something that they have begun to learn. They have learned to press extremely well and to play really hard.
"It means a lot (to finish the regular season strong), but more importantly I'm just very proud of our young ladies because they really could have just plummeted. They could have quit on us. They could have just said, 'Forget it, the season is over with.' That's not what they did. They started working even harder."
Montgomery's 30 points surpassed a 24-point effort at Virginia earlier in the season for a career-best, and marked the sixth time this season for the sophomore to top the 20-point mark. She was 12-of-17 from the field, including a 5-for-7 day from 3-point range. She also finished with five rebounds and a steal.
Four Tigers scored in double-figures. Freshman Neydja Petithomme finished with 12 points, and sophomore Katie Frerking and freshman Jazmine Jones had 10 apiece. Frerking filled the stat sheet with a team-high eight assists, four rebounds and two blocks. Tra'Cee Tanner had a team-high seven rebounds.
Auburn's pressure defense forced Alabama into 24 turnovers, including 16 in the first half. The Tigers capitalized, scoring 30 points off those turnovers, which marked a team-best in SEC play and the most since scoring 34 off turnovers at Florida International on Dec. 29.
Auburn out-rebounded Alabama 34-31 and shot 48.3 percent from the field. The Tigers had 15 steals in the game, improving to 6-0 this year when posting 15 or more swipes.
The Tigers led by as many as 21 points in the contest, but a late Alabama run coupled with copious fouls on both ends allowed the Tide to pull back within single digits at the end. But the final margin of seven points was as close as Alabama ever got in the second half after Auburn led 38-29 at halftime.
Hannah Cook led Alabama with 24 points, and Ashley Williams added 15.
A crowd of 3,721 was on hand for Sunday's game, marking the largest crowd of the season at home and the fourth-largest women's crowd in arena history. The win was Auburn's 50th at Auburn Arena, now in its fifth season.