MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- All nine players who appeared in today's game scored for Auburn Montgomery, leading the Warhawks to a 53-45 victory over William Carey.
The win improved AUM to 16-5 (9-2 SSAC), and helped the Warhawks remain in a tie for first place in the Southern States Athletic Conference West Division with Faulkner. The Crusaders fell to 7-12 (3-9).
"It was a great win for us," Head Coach Dan Davis said. "William Carey is one of those teams that I've always respected from a coaching standpoint. They're always good defensively, they make you earn everything. Our girls showed a lot of mental toughness. We were patient on offense, and we continued to get stops defensively."
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team leading by more than five points. AUM took a slim 28-25 lead into the break.
The game remained tight to start the second half, with AUM up 36-34 with 12:40 remaining. Junior Katie Williams then nailed a 3-pointer to begin a 10-0 run, and the Crusaders never got closer than seven points for the remainder of the contest.
Rush scored all eight of her points in the second half, including six straight in the closing minutes to give the Warhawks their largest lead of 13 points.
"She's been playing so consistently for us over the last three weeks," Davis said. "She hit some big shots in the second half, and made a couple of nice defensive plays to get some transition points for us. She's just playing really well. She's playing within herself and helping us win games."
Free throws played a key role in helping AUM maintain its advantage. William Carey entered today's game first in the conference in free-throw percentage, while the Warhawks were 11th.
The Crusaders lived up to their ranking, hitting 10-of-12 shots from the line, but AUM responded by making 13-of-17, the team's best performance from the charity stripe since Dec. 31 against Ave Maria.
"We knew it was going to be defensive game," Davis said. "And we knew that they were a good free throw shooting team. I thought the fact that we were able to make our free throws was one of the big factors in today's win."
AUM also controlled the glass, out-rebounding William Carey 35-26, including a 12-3 edge offensively. The Warhawks took advantage of those offensive rebounds, getting 10 second-chance points compared to only two for the Crusaders.
The Warhawks, who have now won three straight games, play at Loyola on Thursday. The Wolfpack are 8-10, and 5-5 in the conference. Thursday's matchup begins at 5:30 p.m.