MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- After leading the team with 12.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, including nine double-doubles, senior forward LaKenya Drayton became the first Auburn Montgomery women's basketball player to receive Southern States Athletic All-Conference honors since 2009-10.
The conference announced the awards at a banquet held Wednesday night at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex, site of the conference tournament from Feb. 27-March 2. Psachal Maize and Katie Williams also earned All-Division recognition, while Caitlin Cunningham, Jazmine Jackson and Kamesha Strong made the SSAC All-Academic team.
Drayton has been a force for the Warhawks throughout the season, hitting 49.1 percent of her shots from the field (fifth-best in the conference) despite battling a foot injury throughout the season. She scored 20 or more points five times, including a season-high 23 points against Southern Wesleyan in November. Drayton also grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 13 of 29 games, with a career-high 17 boards versus Spring Hill in January.
"Kenya's growth from the first day she stepped on campus to today, it's as impressive of a growth that I've seen in my five years here," head coach Dan Davis said. "Her two-year career has been outstanding, and she's grown as a true leader of our program. She's left an impact not just on the court, but in the classroom and in the community."
The Hepzibah, Ga., native started all 60 games in her two-year career at AUM, tallying 658 points and 472 rebounds. She added 18 double-doubles during that span, and scored in double figures on 37 different occasions.
Maize averaged 8.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest. She scored a team-high 12.3 points per game after entering the starting lineup in December. The Mobile, Ala., junior guard scored in double figures in 12 of 19 games as a starter, with a season-high 23 points versus Faulkner in January.
"If I had to pick a player that was most-improved this year, there's no doubt that it would be Psachal," Davis said. "She brings a work ethic and the kind of attitude that you have to have to win. I knew she would come to every game ready to play because of her effort in practice. She's somebody that we believe should be a leader for this team next year."
Williams scored 9.8 points per game while joining Drayton as the only Warhawks to start all 30 games. She hit a team-leading 63 shots from 3-point range, which ranked fourth in the SSAC. Her 24 points against Brenau in January were the most for a Warhawk this season.
"Katie had a really solid campaign," Davis said. "She brought a certain toughness onto the court. She just has a really solid, competitive edge, and she's another player that is going to have to step into a leadership role next season."
Cunningham made the All-Academic team for the third time in as many seasons at AUM. The senior from Winchester, Tenn., averaged 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, both career highs. Her season was highlighted by a pair of 15-point performances against Madonna (Dec. 30) and Belhaven (Jan. 19). Cunningham was also named the team's representative on the Musco Lighting Champions of Character Team.
"Caitie is certainly a deserving representative on the Champions of Character team," Davis said. "She is one of the most unselfish players I've ever coached, someone who just really cares about her teammates on and off the court. She's a first-class young lady.
Strong received All-Academic honors for the second time. The Selma, Ala., senior led the Warhawks with 92 assists in 29 games, and also chipped in 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. She dished out a career-high 10 assists against Southern Wesleyan (Nov. 17) and scored a career-high 14 points at Birmingham-Southern (Dec. 4).
Jackson made her debut on the All-Academic team in her first eligible season as a sophomore. She scored 4.3 points per game, highlighted by a three-game stretch from Dec. 30-Jan. 4 where she scored in double figures in each contest, with back-to-back 18-point performances against Ave Maria and Emmanuel. Jackson hit 16 of 38 attempts from long distance, the best 3-point shooting percentage on the team.
To qualify for the All-Academic team, student-athletes must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA or better and have completed three terms at the institution.
AUM is currently 21-9 after falling to Coastal Georgia in the quarterfinals of the SSAC Tournament. The team is awaiting a possible at-large bid into the NAIA Tournament. The field will be announced next Wednesday.