MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- The No. 21 Auburn Montgomery women's basketball team broke a two-game losing streak in style, defeating Belhaven 61-44 behind a 32-8 advantage on points in the paint. With 10 games remaining, the Warhawks have already matched last season's win total.
Katie Williams led AUM (14-5, 7-2 SSAC) with 17 points, while Caitlin Cunningham tied a season-high with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench.
"We had a bit of a slow start offensively," Head Coach Dan Davis said. "But we did a really good job adjusting to their defense as the game went on. Defensively, we were right there from the start. And that's what we've really been harping on them. That message sank in to the girls, and it showed in their play today."
Both teams struggled offensively at the start, with Belhaven (7-12, 4-5) holding a 9-4 advantage after the game's first eight minutes. The Warhawks picked up their play, closing the half on a 15-4 run to take a 32-23 lead into the intermission.
The Warhawks had an 18-8 edge inside in the opening 20 minutes, and AUM extended that advantage to 14-0 in the second. A Cunningham layup with 2:56 remaining gave the Warhawks their largest lead of 22 points.
AUM finished with 15 assists, its most since December 30 against Madonna. Many of those assists led to easy layups for its post players. Kamesha Strong dished out five assists to lead the team, while Ashley Rush added four.
"We've been preaching to the players to wait for the defense to break down," Davis said. "I thought our girls really understood that and showed a lot of poise and patience on offense."
Junior guard Psachal Maize added 15 points offensively for AUM on 6-of-12 shooting. She also made both of her 3-point attempts. AUM made 42.6 percent of its field goal attempts from the field (including 5-of-11 3-pointers) and all four of its free throws.
The Warhawks limited Belhaven to 28.6 percent shooting from the field, and also had a 45-33 advantage in rebounds. LaKenya Drayton led AUM with 11 boards. Tina Odume, making her first start of the season, added a career-high nine rebounds.
"Tina and Caitie both did a great job in relieving some of the pressure off Kenya inside," Davis said. "Our post players know that we need more from them. It's good to see some of the things that we've been working on in practice show up in a game."
AUM ended a four-game losing streak to the Blazers, who were Southern States Athletic Conference champions last year. Ashley Wakefield led Belhaven with 18 points.
The Warhawks return to the court next Thursday with a road matchup at Mobile. That contest is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.