NEW ORLEANS, La. ---- Psachal Maize scored 15 points, including the last seven of the game for Auburn Montgomery, lifting the Warhawks to a 45-40 road victory over Loyola on Thursday.
After AUM had led for almost the entire game, the Wolfpack evened the score at 38 with 4:48 remaining. Maize, though, answered with a jump shot to put the Warhawks in front. She then converted a 3-point play on AUM's next possession. After Loyola cut the deficit back to 43-40, Maize hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to clinch the victory.
"We just found a way to win today," Head Coach Dan Davis said. "We couldn't buy a bucket on offense for most of the game, even though we had great looks. But we didn't let a poor shooting night affect our defense. We gutted it out, and I'm really proud of the girls."
The Warhawks had a strong opening 20 minutes, taking a 29-20 advantage into halftime. LaKenya Drayton led the way early, scoring all 12 of her points and grabbing six rebounds in the first half. The senior forward finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, making 6-of-9 shots from the floor.
"Kenya had a great first half," Davis said. "She was strong in the paint and on the boards. It was good to see her do well from an offensive standpoints. She's really battling out there."
Tina Odume hit a shot on AUM's first possession of the second half to put the Warhawks up 31-20, but they would then go over seven minutes without a field goal, allowing Loyola to go on an 11-0 run to tie the game. Maize hit a jumper to end the streak, and the Wolfpack were never able to take the lead.
AUM made just 19-of-54 shots from the field (35.2 percent) and 2-of-14 attempts from 3-point range. The Warhawks remained strong defensively, however, as Loyola hit only 16 of its 47 shots (34 percent) and 2-of-12 from long distance. The 40 points were the fewest that AUM has allowed in a game this season.
"In our first 10 games, we were holding opponents to 49 points a game," Davis said. "That went up to 62 points in the next 11, but we've really been getting back on track defensively in these last four games. We relied on our defense to get the win tonight."
With the victory, AUM improved to 17-5 (10-2 SSAC), remaining in a tie for first place in the Southern States Athletic Conference West Division with Faulkner, who defeated Belhaven tonight. The Warhawks have now won their most conference games since the 2008-09 team went 15-5 in the SSAC. That team was also the last to make it to the NAIA National Tournament.
Loyola fell to 8-12 (5-7). Janeicia Neely led the Wolfpack with 13 points, while Jasmine Brewer had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Warhawks will take a four-game winning streak back to the AUM Gymnasium, where they will face Morris College on Saturday. The game, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 13, begins at 5:30 p.m.