BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The Auburn Montgomery women's basketball team knew that tonight's exhibition game would be a challenge. Their opponent, Division I Samford, is coming off of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, and the experience of the Bulldogs was evident as they defeated AUM by a score of 62-24.
AUM remains undefeated in regular season play at 7-0. Samford, which treated the game as a regular season matchup, improves to 3-2.
"We knew what we were getting into tonight," Head Coach Dan Davis said. "I have a lot of respect for Coach Morris and what he's been doing at Samford. It's hard to gauge the physicality of the Division I level from film. On a positive note, I really thought we battled defensively. Their offense has so much movement. You really have to be on your toes, and I was proud of our defensive performance."
Samford used an early 20-0 run to take a 25-4 lead in the opening 14 minutes, and the Bulldogs never looked back.
LaKenya Drayton led the Warhawks with eight points and eight rebounds. Marren Schwartz added four points and seven rebounds, while Caitlin Cunningham added six boards. Overall, AUM outrebounded the Bulldogs 40-39.
The Warhawks struggled against Samford's defense all night long, making only 10 of their 50 attempts from the field. AUM also made only 3-of-13 free throw attempts.
"I was concerned about our offense going in because of Samford's physicality," Davis said. "They're bigger at every position. It took us a while to get used to their physicality and length. We adjusted after halftime and played a much better second half.
After trailing 30-7 at the intermission, the second half was more competitive, with Samford holding a 32-17 advantage in the final 20 minutes.
Samford shot 42.1 percent from the floor and made 8-of-10 free throws. Hannah Dawson led a balanced Bulldog attack with 11 points and eight rebounds.
"The biggest thing about tonight is that our girls got to experience a loss, and it doesn't count in the standings," Davis said. "They exposed some of our weaknesses, which we will be able to work on in the next few days of practice. There are a lot of positives that we can take out of this to allow us to get better in our league."
AUM returns to regular season action on Friday with a conference matchup at Coastal Georgia. The Mariners are new to the conference, and this will be the first matchup between the schools. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.