MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- Senior forward LaKenya Drayton had 22 points, while shooting 14-of-18 from the free throw line, to lead the Auburn Montgomery women's basketball team to a 54-49 victory over No. 9 Lee.
Drayton added 11 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Katie Williams also scored in double figures, finishing with 11 points and making 3-of-4 3-point attempts.
"Today's win was a total team effort," Drayton said. "We all came out and played hard. We played great defense and we made our free throws when it mattered."
Free throws played a huge factor in the game, with AUM scoring 23 points from the line, compared to only eight for the Lady Flames. Four Lady Flames fouled out of the contest. Overall, the Warhawks shot 23-of-39 from the line, making 19 of their final 27 attempts (70.3 percent) after starting out only 4-of-12.
"I think we understood the fact that if we didn't start making our free throws, we were probably going to lose the game," Drayton said. "At the end of the day, we knew what was at stake. Free throws win games, and we knocked them down when we needed to."
AUM is now 6-0 for the first time since the 1999-00 season, and the Warhawks also improved to 1-0 in the Southern States Athletic Conference.
"Lee has been the standard for this conference for the past 7-8 years," Head Coach Dan Davis said. "Everybody knows it. Lee is always going to get everybody's best game. I think this win should give us a lot of confidence. The best part about this team is that they know they've got another worthy opponent coming in tomorrow, and their focus will be right for that game."
Lee (3-1, 0-1) entered the game with a 15-3 advantage in the series between the two programs, including victories in the last three meetings. The Lady Flames led 24-19 after the first half, and had a 45-37 advantage with 6:20 remaining.
A Drayton layup then started a 15-2 run for AUM. Two free throws from Drayton with 2:20 remaining gave the Warhawks a 49-47 lead, their first advantage since it was 3-2 early in the game. AUM's final seven points were scored from the free-throw line, as the Warhawks held on for the upset.
"This is a game that gives you confidence," Davis said. "This is the sixth game in a row that we've held our opponent under 50 points, which is always a big thing for us. We've still got a lot of things that we can work on to get better. We've just got to stay humble and focused."
AUM's defense held Lee to 3-of-22 shooting from 3-point range. The Lady Flames were led by Hollie German, who finished with 17 points and five rebounds. Thirteen of those points came in the first half, however, and Davis credited the defensive efforts of Amber Bennett for containing German in the second half.
"I thought Amber and Psachal Maize were big sparks for us off the bench in the second half," Davis said. "Amber's defensive work on German in particular. Getting the ball out of her hands was a big game changer. We locked down defensively down the stretch and were able to make our free throws."
The Warhawks return to action tomorrow afternoon against Southern Wesleyan. The game begins at 3 p.m. at the AUM Gymnasium.