The Tigers improved their record to 12-3 with a third straight win, but had to rally from a five-point second half deficit after leading by as many as 14 points in the first half.
The Tigers regained the lead and were on top 66-63 with 1:25 to play on a basket by junior guard Tamela McCorvey, but Lesley Dickinson's three-pointer with 41 seconds tied the game. Auburn regained the lead on a Bonner jumper, but the Dickinson beat the buzzer after catching an in-bounds pass to tie the game at 68-68 and send it into overtime.
Tamela McCorvey and Sherell Hobbs scored 14 points for the Tigers while Keke Carrier chipped inwith 11 points and six blocked shots. Tamera Young led JMU with 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.
"I thought the overtime was a real test of your will," Auburn coach Nell Fortner said of her Tigers. "That was the biggest thing I saw. They wanted to win the game. They fought for it."
Auburn hit seven of eight free throws in the overtime to pull out the victory. The Tigers hit 25-32 for the game and made 45.5 percent of their field goals. James Madison hit 10-17 free throws and 40.3 percent from the field.
James Madison had a six-game winning streak before facing the Tigers. The team from the Colonial Athletic Conference fell to 8-2.
Auburn was outrebounded 43-42 and oercame 25 turnovers to win the game. JMU turned the ball over 18 times.
Auburn will play the winner of Friday night's second game as host Miami plays Coppin State. The championship game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. CST on Friday.
After the tournament in Miami, the Tigers return home for the Jan. 4th SEC opener vs. Ole Miss.