The Wildcats opened the contest with a 13-5 run, but Auburn answered with a 21-8 spurt that was fueled by a seven-and-a-half-minute scoring drought by Arizona. The Tigers took a two-point (32- 30) edge into the break.
Auburn opened the second half with an 8-2 run, taking its largest lead of the game at 15:44 with a 40-32 advantage. Then, bolstered by six of Bristol's 12 second-half points, the Wildcats used a 17-9 run to tie the game at 49-all with nine minutes left.
The Tigers ran off six unanswered points and managed to hold off the Cats until the UA used an 8-3 spurt to tie the game again at 63-63 with 2:16 remaining. Auburn's Tasha Hamilton drained a pair of free throws at 1:37 to gain a 65-63 edge.
Wildcat junior forward Elizabeth Pickney hit the back end of a two-shot attempt at the stripe to bring the game to 65-64 with only 38 seconds remaining in the contest. Auburn forward Lori Nero hit a layup with 25 seconds on the clock, then Bristol missed a three-pointer which she followed for two on the rebound, once again cutting the deficit to one (67-66).
The Tigers' Shana Askew iced the game with just nine seconds remaining by hitting a pair from the stripe. Arizona tried for the tie at the buzzer, a Pickney three-point attempt that bounced off the rim.
In addition to her game-high-tying 20 points, Bristol racked up six assists, five rebounds and four steals. Sophomore wing Krista Warren added 13 points, followed by junior center LaKeisha Taylor with 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Junior guard Tysell Bozeman contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
"I thought this was really a great game. We played hard and showed a lot of poise while playing a quality top-10 team," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "Reshea played well, and our bench really stepped up. This was a great team effort. We came up short, but this experience will only make us better."
Arizona, which sees its win streak end at six games, will be in action again on Wednesday against host team Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. Game time is 9 p.m. AST (6 p.m. Tucson time). The Wildcats are playing in the tournament without the services of leading scorer Veranda James (16.2 ppg), who had to return to Tucson to attend to some academic concerns.
After having already won two games previously in the round-robin tournament, Auburn was awarded the tournament title on Tuesday night.