MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- The No. 20 Auburn Montgomery women's basketball team has not spent much time at home this season. Eight of AUM's 10 regular season games thus far have taken place away from the AUM Gymnasium, and the Warhawks also played an exhibition game at Division I Samford.
This Friday, though, the team returns home for a key matchup against NAIA No. 2 Freed-Hardeman. Both teams are undefeated, with AUM at 10-0 while the Lady Lions are 9-0.
The Warhawks are coming off a 54-47 win at Birmingham-Southern on Tuesday. Freed-Hardeman cruised to an 83-51 victory over Talladega, which entered the game receiving votes in the top 25.
"We have so much respect for Freed-Hardeman's program," Head Coach Dan Davis said. "They're one of those teams that just do not beat themselves. It's a great challenge for our team to see where we are and to try to continue to take our game to the next level as the season progresses."
Freed-Hardeman leads the NAIA in scoring defense (holding opponents to 44.6 points per game) and scoring margin (outscoring opponents by 39.8 points per game).
At 44.8 percent, the Lady Lions are also the best 3-point shooting team in the country. They will be matched up against an AUM defense that is fourth-best nationally at defending 3-pointers, holding opponents to 22.4 percent shooting from long distance. The Warhawks are ranked seventh overall in defense, limiting opponents to 49.1 points per game.
"They're a great shooting team," Davis said. "We know that we have to go out there and play good defense, rebound the ball, take care of the ball and do all of the little things. We'll play hard for 40 minutes and see what happens."
Three players for Freed-Hardeman average over 10 points a game, led by Natalie Shumpert (15.9 ppg) and Brittany Montgomery (12.0 ppg).
LaKenya Drayton leads a balanced AUM attack with 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Keisha Moore averages 10.6 points per game, and she has led the team in scoring in the last three games. Kamesha Strong adds 5.5 points and a team-high 4.2 assists per game.
Friday's matchup begins at 5:30 p.m. in the AUM Gymnasium. Davis hopes to see an energetic crowd in the stands.
"It's exciting anytime you get one of the top teams in the nation on your home court," he said. "The fans need to really come out, cheer us on and show their AUM colors. They have a chance to see two really good teams duke it out. They will get their money's worth."